Bush decries advances in human cloning

Monday, November 26, 2001

Associated Press WriterWASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush on Monday decried a research company's claim to have cloned the first human embryo. "We should not, as a society, grow life to destroy it," Bush said.

The president told reporters during a Rose Garden appearance that the reported breakthrough by a Massachusetts research firm was "morally wrong, in my opinion."

Bush had stated his opposition to such research and said Monday that he hasn't changed his position.

"The use of embryos to clone is wrong," he said. "We should not, as a society, grow life to destroy it, and that's exactly what is taking place."

Presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer said the work of Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Mass., amounts to human cloning and lays bare "the conundrum of scientific progress, where progress can also be measured in terms of how many lives will be taken to save a life. That's something the president has drawn a strong ethical line in the sand on and said that line should not be crossed."

Advanced Cell Technology announced Sunday that its researchers had cloned a six-cell embryo in hopes of developing genetically compatible replacement cells for patients with a range of illnesses.

The Massachusetts company's lab procedure would be banned under anti-cloning legislation passed earlier this year by the House but stalled in the Senate.

Bush "hopes that as a result of this first crossing of the line -- and the first step into a morally consequential realm of creating a life to take a life in the name of science -- that the Senate will act on the House legislation so that this procedure can be banned," Fleischer said.

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