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Clinton asks bioethics commission to look at sheep cloning

clinton

Poll shows most Americans disapprove of cloning

February 25, 1997
Web posted at: 3:00 p.m. EST (2000 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton asked a White House bioethics advisory commission of outside experts to look at ethical, legal and other issues raised by the successful cloning of a sheep in Scotland.

The cloning is a "remarkable scientific discovery, but one that raises important questions," Clinton said Monday in a letter to Dr. Harold Shapiro, chairman of the commission.

The president said he was particularly concerned about the "possible use of this technology to clone human embryos."

"It is a very troubling subject," White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said.

Clinton asked the advisory panel to report back within 90 days with recommendations to prevent abuse of this new technology. He signed a federal ban in 1995 on the use of human embryos for research.

Meanwhile, an ABC News poll showed that 87 percent of Americans believed cloning humans should be specifically banned, and 82 percent said they thought it was morally wrong.

Fifty percent said they disapproved of the Scottish scientists' research, but 53 percent said cloning animals should be allowed for medical research. The number increased to 71 percent if such research could lead to lifesaving drugs or medical techniques.

 
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