Statement of the Catholic Leadership Conference on Human Cloning

 

Catholic Leadership Conference

 
  11/1/2001
 

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 precarious position.

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 impairment.

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 conjugal union."

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 fission".

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 precarious position.

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 impairment.

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 conjugal union."

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 fission".