The US President George W. Bush, who is known for his pro-life stance, expressed concern regarding human cloning research in South Korea on Friday. A scientist from the Seoul National University has successfully yielded a dozen new embryonic stem cell lines from cloned human embryos - a breakthrough in the medical field.
"I’m very concerned about cloning," the president was quoted by the Associated Press. "I worry about a world in which cloning becomes accepted."
While the South Korean researchers cloned human embryos and extracted the stem cell with funding from their government, the US President once again affirmed that he would veto legislation that would loosen restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, according to the Associated Press.
"I made very clear to Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayer’s money, to promote science which destroys life in order to save life - I’m against that," Bush continued. "Therefore, if the bill does that, I would veto it."
President Bush is expected to push forward the bill to ban the use of federal dollars to do research on embryonic stem cell lines. The cloning of embryos or embryo destruction is completely prohibited in America. However, the law would let government-funded researchers work with stem cells culled from embryos left over from fertility treatments.
Dr. Janet Rowley of the University of Chicago, a member of the President's Council on Bioethics, hoped the South Korean work would apply pressure on the US-Congress to take a "more responsible position on federal support for the use and investigation of human embryonic stem cell lines", according to the Associated Press.
In fact, the US is one of the most avid supporters of a total ban on human cloning in the UN table. President Bush urged UN member states to adopt legislation "to prohibit all forms of human cloning in as much as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life." since September 2004.
Even though a non-binding resolution was finally passed by the UN on 8th March to prohibit human cloning, therapeutic cloning has still not been clearly addressed. Therefore, countries who are already on moving forward in stem cell research such as Britain, South Korea, and the Netherlands have promised to continue pushing ahead with therapeutic cloning even after the resolution.
At the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast Friday, the Associated Press said President Bush reaffirmed his position on sensitive issues such as abortion and stem cell research. He urged people to "pray that America uses the gift of freedom to build a culture of life". And he recalled the legacy of the late Pope John Paul II, saying "The best way to honour this great champion of human freedom is to continue to build a culture of life where the strong protect the weak".