Response to Cloning Claim
The Center for Genetics and Society joins the widespread condemnation of the Raelian announcement that a cloned child has been born, and shares the widespread doubt that it will prove to be true.
Based on what we know about cloning technology and about the Raelians, the claim is very unlikely to be true. Researchers in China and the US have experienced extraordinarily high failure rates in efforts to create viable cloned human embryos, and the high failure rate of animal pregnancies involving cloned embryos is well documented. The likelihood that the Raelians have overcome both of these hurdles is slim.
Nonetheless, we can hardly be complacent. Cloning claims and publicity stunts by rogue researchers and others will surely continue. At the same time, the development of technologies that would in fact make human cloning possible continues.
Efforts by the Raelians or others to produce a child using cloning techniques constitute a violation of internationally recognized standards on human experimentation. Risks to the child and to women impregnated with cloned human embryos contravene medical ethics and human rights. Even if reproductive cloning could somehow be shown to be "safe," its use would be contrary to the well-being not only of the children and women involved, but to society as a whole.
A wide range of scientific, medical, human rights, reproductive rights, environmentalist, civil rights, disability rights, and other civil society organizations, in the United States and internationally, are on record in support of bans on human reproductive cloning. The United Nations has embarked on a process towards an international treaty that would outlaw the production of human clones. Several dozen countries have already established legislation prohibiting reproductive cloning efforts, and calls for similar bans are now being heard in many others.
The prospect that cloning and other genetic modification techniques might be used to re-engineer the human species—a prospect that some scientists and others have openly endorsed—is one of the most pressing issues of our time.
We call on all countries to move quickly to ban reproductive human cloning, and to develop effective policies for regulating other powerful new human genetic technologies.
We call on people everywhere to work individually and through organizations to which they belong to establish the political and cultural committments needed to protect our common human future.