Church of Scotland Sanctions Embryo Cloning

On May 22, the Church of Scotland backed the use of cloned

embryos in cell replacement therapy to treat diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, but reaffirmed its condemnation of cloning complete humans. The General Assembly passed a motion sanctioning the use of embryos, provided that they were less than 14 days old, and that there was no alternative.

Delegates, however, opposed the use of "spare" human embryos for research and treatment unless it was related to human reproduction. The assembly also called on the government to introduce legislation banning human reproductive cloning.

Ann Allen, convener of the Board of Social Responsibility, said, "Scientists are extremely clever and motivated, and it is their job to extend the frontiers of knowledge and break through barriers of ignorance ... However, they are not moralists or ethicists, and we must be careful that we do not, by default, assume the role of defining the ethical boundaries of our society simply by discovering what is possible. Just because we can do it, it does not necessarily follow that we should do it."