(RNS) -- The Bush administration is backing a broad ban that would
prevent human cloning and the creation of cloned embryos for research
In a presentation before a congressional subcommittee
June 20, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services Claude A. Allen
said a total ban on creation of human cloned embryos is necessary, The
Washington Post reported.
Legislators have been considering one bill that would make it a
crime to create a human cloned embryo for any reason and another that
would prohibit embryo creation solely if there is an "intent" to develop
embryos into babies.
But Allen said the administration is concerned that scientists might
decide to let embryos mature into babies once they've started the
"It's too easy, too simple to cross that line," Allen said.
He said President Bush will announce his position on the separate
but related issue of federal funding of human embryo cell research at a
Recently, the administration has heard from leaders on both sides of
Sens. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, have
written to Bush encouraging him to authorize federal money for such
research, The New York Times reported.
Hatch, an abortion opponent, told the president that experiments
with embryonic stem cells was "consistent with bedrock, pro-life,
pro-family values" and raise questions that are "fundamentally
different" from those dealing with abortion.
Collins, an abortion rights supporter, said, "Stem cell research
holds tremendous potential to treat and even cure a vast array of
diseases and conditions," such as Alzheimer's disease and diabetes.
More than a dozen representatives of Christian groups opposing
abortion wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson
urging him to oppose research involving destruction of human embryos.
"Your leadership on this most important ethical question will
provide guidance on scientific experimentation at one of the most
critical turning points in human history," said the letter from leaders
of groups including the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family,
Concerned Women for America, and the Catholic Family and Human Rights