Once again the United Nations has deferred a vote on an international cloning ban because of an apparently unbridgeable gap between supporters and opponents of therapeutic cloning. Although the debate in the legal committee ended last Friday, discussion will continue informally, according to UN sources. Achieving an agreement could ultimately hinge on the upcoming American elections, for a Kerry victory would swing the US behind cloning human embryos.
Bernard Siegel, the executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute, a therapeutic cloning lobby group in Florida, claimed that the delay represented a victory. He noted that a number of southern African nations which had formerly supported a total ban have now withdrawn their support. “We shall not be party to any decision that will have us act hastily without measuring the benefits that medical science can provide to improve the quality of life for our people,” said Botswana’s ambassador. And Turkey, a spokesman for 57 Islamic nations, called for more time to consider the issue.
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