UNITED NATIONS, October 21, 2004 ( – The United Nations General Assembly legal committee launched official debates on a Costa Rican proposal to ban all forms of human cloning.  A competing proposal put forward by Belgium would allow for euphemistically labeled “therapeutic” cloning which involves the creation of human clones who would be used for experimentation and killed, rather than allowed to be born.

Costa Rican representative Roberto Tovar introduced his country’s comprehensive ban on human cloning noting that all human cloning was an affront to human dignity.  He pointed out moreover that such research is totally unnecessary, especially given the vastly greater success with ethical non-embryonic stem cell research.  The Costa Rican proposal is co-sponsored by over 50 countries.  Marc Pecsteen, the representative from Belgium, attempted to present his proposal as not actually in favour of “therapeutic” cloning, but only leaving the question open for individual countries to decide.  The Belgian proposal to allow cloning is backed by some 20 countries and most strongly by Britain which has already approved and commenced creating human beings through cloning for research purposes.  A third looming possibility in the debate is to have another vote to delay the proceedings.  Last year the committee voted to delay the vote on the drafts for two years.

Despite the massive lobby effort of moneyed interests, the Bush administration has firmly continued to support of the Costa Rican proposal.

“A partial ban that prohibits cloning for reproductive purpose but permits the destruction of cloned human embryos for experimental purposes is unacceptable,” an American State Department official said.  “Our position on cloning has not changed. We believe all cloning is wrong and should be banned.”  The Costa Rican and Belgian Drafts are available here:   jhw


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