CMA Doctors Challenge ISSCR for Changing Human Cloning Terminology

( [email protected] ) Oct 16, 2004 04:58 PM EDT

On Oct. 1, the head of the Christian Medical Association (CMA) told the media that the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has misled the public by changing human cloning nomenclature in order to increase public support for embryonic stem cell research.

According to a report posted on the website of CMA, ISSCR President Leonard I. Zon, MD encouraged researchers and the media to stop using the term "therapeutic cloning" and replace it with “Nuclear transfer”. This replacement can mislead the public causing them to overlook the ethical issues of cloning and embryonic stem cell research.

"A number of researchers have been trying to leverage public funds by obscuring the fact that they want to clone human embryos to get embryonic stem cells," explained CMA Executive Director David Stevens, M.D. "History has shown that verbal engineering facilitates social engineering. When scientists want to do something the public abhors, they simply change the terminology. They either deploy a euphemism or use technical jargon that nobody understands."

Dr. Stevens further explained, as posted on the CMA website, "Last time I checked, Dolly the sheep was considered a true clone of the sheep from which the nucleus was obtained. Are we now supposed to say Dolly the 'nuclear transfer' sheep? Did Dolly's cloning process simply create 'cells', or did it create a sheep embryo that was later born?”

Therapeutic cloning is a process that involves the cloning of an embryo for the purpose of harvesting its stem cells. What makes stem cell research so controversial in the public is its moral implication on the killing of human embryos.

Many scientists claim embryonic stem cells, derived from excess embryos created during in-vitro fertilization have the potential to cure spinal cord injuries, diabetes, Parkinson's and many other diseases. Opponents contend the promise of stem cells is far off in the future, and the research requires destruction of human life.