U.N. Debate on Cloning Ends With no Vote

Last week’s U.N. debate on the prohibition of human cloning ended without a decision.

The debate took place within the context of the juridical committee of the U.N. General Assembly, which was created to elaborate an international convention on the subject.

Although all countries agreed on the prohibition of human cloning for reproductive purposes, the possibility of creating human embryos for medical experimentation caused divisions.

Costa Rica presented a resolution, supported by 64 countries including the Holy See, for a total ban on human cloning as it implies the elimination of human embryos.

Belgium presented an alternative resolution which seeks the approval of what is called therapeutic cloning. The resolution was supported by Great Britain, Spain, France, Japan and 18 others, as well as the U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The debate became particularly intense at the height of the U.S. electoral campaign as George Bush supports the first proposal for prohibition, while John Kerry supports the second.

Diplomatic sources reported that the discussion on the convention for worldwide prohibition of cloning will be taken up again after the Nov. 2 U.S. elections.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, who participated in the debate as permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, explained that the Holy See’s opposition to all human cloning has a profound ethical reason. "A human life cannot be used to save another and, moreover, in this case a great quantity of embryos would be used."

In statements on Saturday on Vatican Radio, the Archbishop added the Holy See supports this "no" with another "yes" to the "use of adult stem cells for therapeutic" purposes, as it does not imply the death of human beings in an incipient state of life