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Clinton bars federal funds for human cloning research


March 4, 1997
Web posted at: 11:30 a.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Responding to what he termed the "troubling prospect" of cloning human beings, President Bill Clinton has banned the use of all federal funds for such experiments to allow time for scientists, the government and citizens alike to consider the issue. icon (305K/27 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

"Any discovery that touches upon human creation is not simply a matter of scientific inquiry," the president said Tuesday at a White House news conference to announce his decision. "It is matter of morality and spirituality as well."

Clinton also called on privately funded researchers to voluntarily implement a temporary moratorium on human cloning research "until our bioethics advisory committee and our entire nation has had time to... debate the ethical implications." icon (190K/17 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)


The success of Scottish scientists in cloning a sheep from an adult sheep -- and the subsequent announcement that Oregon scientists had successfully cloned monkeys from embryos -- prompted Clinton's decision.

No federal funds are currently being put toward human cloning experiments, but the president said he wanted to close possible loopholes in the present law by explicitly banning such funding.

Last month, Clinton asked a National Bioethics Advisory Commission to study the implications of the issue, and report back by the end of May. Until that time, the president said he hoped the private sector would "heed the federal government's example" and refrain from human cloning research.


Recent breakthroughs in animal cloning, Clinton said, "could yield enormous benefits, but we "need better understanding."

"There is much about cloning that we still do not know," he said.

The president said that he personally hoped the country would "respect this profound gift (life) and resist the temptation to replicate ourselves."


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