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Saturday, January 10, 1998 Published at 15:40 GMT

World: Americas

Clinton calls for human cloning ban
image: [ Clinton:
Clinton: "scientific advancement does not occur in a moral vacuum"

The US President, Bill Clinton, has urged Congress to pass a ban on human cloning experiments for at least five years.

A Chicago-area physicist, Richard Seed, caused uproar this week when he said he was ready to set up a clinic to clone human babies and predicted that as many as 200,000 human clones a year would be produced once his process was perfected.

"It's good to remember that scientific advancement does not occur in a moral vacuum," Mr Clinton said in his weekly radio address to the nation.

"Technological developments divorced from values will not bring us one step closer to meeting the challenges or reaping the benefits of the 21st century," Mr Clinton said.

Last June the President sent Congress legislation that would ban human cloning for at least five years.

Mr Clinton said the need for passing the legislation was more urgent than ever.

"Unfortunately, Congress has not yet acted on this legislation," he said. "Yet, it's now clearer than ever the legislation is exactly what is needed."

"This week, like many Americans, I learned the profoundly troubling news that a member of the scientific community is actually laying plans to clone a human being," Mr Clinton said.

"Personally, I believe that human cloning raises deep concerns."

So far most scientists have refrained from experimenting with human cloning but Mr Clinton warned that "we know it's possible for some to ignore the consensus of their colleagues and proceed without regard for our common values."

"So today, again, I call on Congress to act now to make it illegal for anyone to clone a human being."

The President issued an executive order last year banning the use of any federal money for human cloning research.

Several states have begun looking at a ban on human cloning, including Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin and Connecticut.

Mr Seed said if the United States outlawed human cloning, he would set up his operation elsewhere - mentioning Mexico, the Cayman Islands or the Bahamas as possible alternatives.

The idea of genetically manipulated human beings came a step closer last March with the announcement that a sheep named Dolly had been cloned by scientists working in Scotland. They produced the animal from an adult cell fused with an egg.


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