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Report from the United Nations
October 21, 2004 11:58AM EST

Report from the United Nations

Thursday, October 21

This week I am serving as a representative of the Religious Freedom Coalition along with others from pro-life NGOs at the General Assembly session of the United Nations in New York City. Next week the United Nations will vote on whether to ban human cloning. There is a committee which has been working for four years to write a treaty which will be voted on by the General Assembly.

Pro life groups from around the world are here to lobby the committee to formulate a treaty that bans both reproductive and therapeutic cloning.

No consensus has yet been reached. The issue is not so much reproductive cloning, in which cloned embryos would be allowed to develop to full term infants and be born. Practically all nations are against this.

The sticking point is "therapeutic cloning" in which embryos would be cloned for the purpose of research and possible treatments for disease. These embryos would be marked for destruction at the outset, and never allowed to develop. Pro life people around the world, those who believe human life is a gift from our Creator and that life begins at conception, are horrified at this prospect. More than 50 nations, including the United States, support the "Costa Rica plan," which would be a total ban on all cloning.

The total ban is opposed by a group of about 20, mostly European, nations that instead support the "Belgian plan," which would ban reproductive cloning but allow therapeutic cloning. Great Britain, France, Germany, and Singapore are pushing for this plan.

Frustrations have climbed for several years as the committee has met to consider the cloning ban but has yet to come to an agreement on what the next step will be.

The overwhelming number of delegates I spoke with believe that reproductive cloning should be banned, however, some believe that creating embryos for research should be allowed. The Thursday session ended with a statement by H. E. Archbishop Celestino Migliore Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. He stated: "This matter - of vital interest to the human race today and in the future- properly belongs here in this universal body. The Holy See remains convinced of the wisdom of an international juridical instrument that comprehensively bans human embryonic cloning."

I will continue to work this week at the United Nations for a resolution from that body that condemns all human cloning. Life is a gift of God and should not be manipulated for the purpose of harvesting human parts for "therapeutic" reasons.

Peggy Birchfield

Executive Director

Religious Freedom Coalition

 Religious Freedom Coalition
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