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'Government must act now to ban all human cloning,' says CMF

Published: 15th November 2001

CMF ‘urges government to think again’ in light of keynote legal decision.

CMF has responded to today’s court decision on human cloning by calling on the government to ban all human cloning immediately. CMF would also like to see a far more open debate on therapeutic cloning in order that the clinical and especially ethical implications of this new medical technology may be explored as fully as possible.

Peter Saunders, General Secretary of the CMF, commented: “We are delighted that the court decision has put a further fold on the dangerous, unethical and unnecessary use of human embryos for stem cell research.

“In the run up to last Christmas the government legalised embryonic cloning on the quiet. We are implacably opposed to use of this technology for three key reasons:

  • Cloning embryos is unethical because it uses human embryos as a means to an end. This runs counter to the Judaeo-Christian ethic, enshrined in our legal system and in international codes such as the Declaration of Geneva (1948) which affirms unequivocally that human life - at every stage of its development - deserves the utmost respect.
  • Therapeutic cloning will lead inevitably to reproductive cloning. Once cloned embryos exist, theoretically all that is needed to produce human clones would be to implant them in a womb – a technique that is simple to perform and impossible to police.
  • There is a viable alternative to embryonic cloning in adult stem cell technology. The latest research suggests that adult stem cells, eg from the bone marrow, have much more flexibility than was previously thought and are therefore more effective in replacing damaged cells. Much of this work post dates the Donaldson Report which recommended the use of embryonic stem cells and was accepted by the government in summer 2000.

“The UK was the first nation in the world to legalise human cloning. Rather than extending the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act in the furtive and clandestine way it did last Christmas, Parliament should have adopted the more cautious, humane and ethical approach of encouraging more adult stem cell research.

“We urge the government to think again in the light of this keynote legal decision. We believe that it would now be right to reopen the whole debate that surrounds therapeutic cloning – and that a wholesale ban on cloning of all types should be introduced until that debate is properly concluded.”

For further information:

Philippa Taylor (CMF Head of Public Policy) 020 7234 9664
Steven Fouch (CMF Head of Communications) 020 7234 9668

Media Enquiries:

Alistair Thompson on 07970 162 225

About CMF:

Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 5,000 doctors, 900medical and nursing students and 300 nurses and midwives as members in all branches of medicine, nursing and midwifery. A registered charity, it is linked to over 100 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.

CMF exists to unite Christian healthcare professionals to pursue the highest ethical standards in Christian and professional life and to increase faith in Christ and acceptance of his ethical teaching.

Christian Medical Fellowship:
uniting & equipping Christian doctors & nurses
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