European Parliament Wants Total Ban on Human Cloning

Vote Aims to Give Guidance to EU Member States

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STRASBOURG, France, NOV. 21, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The European Parliament approved a resolution favoring a universal ban on all types of cloning of human beings at all stages of development.



According to the Europarliament's Web page, the report which was voted on -- "Life Sciences and Biotechnology: A Strategy for Europe" -- was written by Portuguese Elisa Maria Damiao of the European Socialist Party.

The European deputies voted 271 to 154 to adopt an amendment introduced in Paragraph 20 in which the European Commission and member states are requested to prohibit all forms of cloning.

The new article states that the European Parliament "solemnly reaffirms that the life and dignity of all human beings, whatever their stage of development and state of health, must be respected and is opposed to any form of research or use of life sciences and biotechnology that runs counter to this fundamental principle."

Furthermore, the Parliament "repeats its insistence that there should be a universal and specific ban at the level of the United Nations on the cloning of human beings at all stages of formation and development and urges the Commission and the Member States to work towards this end."

The limited proposal to promote the prohibition of human cloning for reproductive purposes, had been presented to the United Nations by the German and French governments. In international forums, German representatives considered the possibility that human cloning might be permitted for medical purposes or research.

The European Parliament's resolution does not have authority in the governments of the European Union: Its function is to guide the legislation of those countries.

In the same report, the Parliament emphasizes the urgency to complete an knowledge-based, predictable and ethical legal framework for biotechnology companies and farmers, in order to secure consumer safety and competitiveness, as well as to prevent both a "brain drain" in this field, and a future dependency on the import of biotech products.

Meanwhile, the Parliament strongly supports an end to the de facto moratorium on genetically modified foods in force since 1998, in order to foster innovation.

The Parliament states that biotechnology alone will not help to overcome hunger in the world but underlines that it might also be necessary to use genetically modified crops to produce enough food.

On reproductive medicine, the Europarliamentarians state that genetic testing and analysis must be conducted under clear rules within the frame of competent, independent, and personal counseling which must cover medical, ethical, social, psychological and legal aspects.

They reaffirm that the life and dignity of all human beings, whatever their stage of development and state of health, must be respected. The Europarliamentarians are opposed to any form of research or use of life sciences and biotechnology that runs counter to this fundamental principle.

The Parliament also considers it important to ensure that no woman is compelled to have a prenatal diagnosis carried out. It says that determination of sex in connection with prenatal diagnosis should be permitted only -- if at all -- if there is a risk of serious gender specific hereditary diseases.