Statement of the Catholic Leadership Conference on Human Cloning
November 1, 2001
The Catholic Leadership Conference, in its commitment to the dignity of
innocent human life and to the institution of marriage, calls for federal and
state legislation banning human cloning.
Attempts to clone a human being should be a punishable offense. Human cloning
would constitute a violation of the rights of the person being engendered and
would endanger the common good since it would subject one class of human beings
to domination and exploitation by others.
The Catholic Leadership Conference rejects as invalid the distinction drawn
between therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning, as it is currently used.
The CLC sees this as a distinction without a difference. In either case, a new
human being would be engendered and then violated by being subjected to the
manipulation of others.
In the case of so-called therapeutic cloning the human embryo would be
destroyed as scientists attempted to use it or its cells to develop therapies
for others who are ill or disabled.
In the case of reproductive cloning the engendered child would be brought to
term and delivered without the benefit of parents since it would carry the
genetic code only of the one who had supplied the DNA from his or her somatic
cell. This would also constitute a violation of the rights of the child in many
ways. Since there is currently no basis in common or statutory law to determine
who would have responsibility for the care of the child, it would be left in a
It would also require the engendering and loss of many lives in attempts to
achieve a single live birth. The clone would also be born disadvantaged
physically since there is ample scientific evidence that clones invariably
suffer abnormalities because of the lack of genetic material from two parents
which results in so-called impaired genetic imprinting which is expressed by
abnormalities in the offspring such as skeletal defects and immunological
The CLC endorses the position of President George W. Bush which he stated in
his first formal address to the American people: "I strongly oppose human
cloning, as do most Americans. We recoil at the idea of growing human beings for
spare body parts or creating life for our convenience .... Even the most noble
ends do not justify any means."
This position conforms with what has been formally taught by the Catholic
Church in the instruction issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith in 1987 known as Donum Vitae. "[A]ttempts ... for obtaining a
human being without any connection with sexuality through 'twin fission',
cloning or parthenogenesis are to be considered contrary to the moral law, since
they are in opposition to the dignity both of human procreation and of the
The CLC accepts unequivocally the teaching of the Second Vatican Council that
"life once conceived, must be protected with the utmost care" (Gaudium et Spes,
51) and calls on the government to enact laws and to establish policies which
would protect human life from the first moment of conception and which would ban
the engendering of human life through cloning, parthenogenesis or "twin