Order Code RL31358
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Updated May 20, 2005
Judith A. Johnson Specialist in Life Sciences Domestic Social Policy Division Erin D. Williams Specialist in Bioethical Policy Domestic Social Policy Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
In May 2005 scientists in South Korea announced they had achieved major advances in creating human embryos using cloning methods and in isolating human stem cells from cloned embryos. In December 2002 a representative of Clonaid announced the overseas birth of the first cloned human to a 31-year-old American woman. Clonaid’s claim remains unsubstantiated. These announcements rekindled debate in the 108th Congress on the moral and ethical implications of human cloning as the disclosure by Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) did in the 107th Congress. In November 2001 ACT announced the creation of the first cloned human embryos (which survived only for a few hours); the embryos were to be used to derive stem cells for medical research on disease therapies. Harvard scientists intend to produce cloned human embryos for research on diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and other diseases; they received permission to proceed from the University in January 2005. President Bush announced in August 2001 that for the first time federal funds would be used to support research on human embryonic stem cells, but funding would be limited to “existing stem cell lines.” Federal funds can not be used for the cloning of human embryos for any purpose, including stem cell research. In July 2002 the President’s Council on Bioethics released its report on human cloning which unanimously recommended a ban on reproductive cloning and, by a vote of 10 to 7, a four-year moratorium on cloning for medical research purposes. The ethical issues surrounding reproductive cloning (commodification, safety, identity ), and therapeutic cloning...