Clinton bars federal funds for human cloning research
March 4, 1997
Web posted at: 11:30 a.m. EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Responding to what he termed the
"troubling prospect" of cloning human beings, President
Bill Clinton has banned the use of all federal funds for such
experiments to allow time for scientists, the government and
citizens alike to consider the issue.
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"Any discovery that touches upon human creation is not simply
a matter of scientific inquiry," the president said Tuesday
at a White House news conference to announce his decision.
"It is matter of morality and spirituality as well."
Clinton also called on privately funded researchers to
voluntarily implement a temporary moratorium on human cloning research "until our bioethics advisory committee and our entire nation has had time to... debate the ethical implications."
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The success of Scottish scientists in cloning a sheep from an
adult sheep -- and the subsequent announcement that Oregon
scientists had successfully cloned monkeys from embryos --
prompted Clinton's decision.
No federal funds are currently being put toward human cloning
experiments, but the president said he wanted to close
possible loopholes in the present law by explicitly banning such funding.
Last month, Clinton asked a National Bioethics Advisory
Commission to study the implications of the issue, and report
back by the end of May. Until that time, the president said
he hoped the private sector would "heed the federal
government's example" and refrain from human cloning
Recent breakthroughs in animal cloning, Clinton said, "could
yield enormous benefits, but we "need better understanding."
"There is much about cloning that we still do not know," he
The president said that he personally hoped the country would
"respect this profound gift (life) and resist the temptation
to replicate ourselves."