More MS news articles for July 2001

National Health Council Issues Statement on Cloning

Supports Legislation that Distinguishes Between Reproductive And Therapeutic Use

July 27, 2001  9:30am
Source: PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Jul 27, 2001 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- After careful consideration of the ethical, medical and scientific issues involved, the National Health Council today issued a statement declaring that "it is critical to distinguish between reproductive human cloning and therapeutic uses of cloning technology" when considering legislation to regulate or ban cloning in the United States.

The Council endorses legislation (H.R. 2608) introduced by Rep. James C. Greenwood (R-PA) prohibiting the use of somatic cell nuclear transfer with the intent to cause a pregnancy, but allowing the use of the technology for research purposes.

"Representative Greenwood's bill is thoughtful and well-constructed, clearly and forcefully prohibiting cloning for the purpose of creating a human being, a practice universally seen as wrong," said Myrl Weinberg, president of the National Health Council. "Most importantly," she continued, "it allows for the use of somatic cell nuclear transfer technology for research that has the potential to treat and cure a wide variety of diseases."

"The Council has compared the provisions of Representative Greenwood's bill with the other bill pending in the House," said Paul Smedberg, the Council's director of governmental affairs. "Unlike the alternative House bill, H.R. 2608 clearly makes the important distinction between reproductive use of cloning technology and its therapeutic use."

The Council will also write to Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) and Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) to express support of Rep. Greenwood's bill.

The National Health Council is a private, nonprofit umbrella organization of more than 110 national health-related organizations working to bring quality health care to all people for more than 80 years. Its core membership includes nearly 50 of the nation's leading patient-based organizations representing more than 100 million people with chronic diseases and/or disabilities. Other Council members include professional and membership associations, nonprofit organizations with an interest in health, and major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The Council provides a unique forum for diverse health-related groups to build consensus with a focus on patients and their needs. For more information about the National Health Council, visit the Council's Web site at HTTP://WWW.NATIONALHEALTHCOUNCIL.ORG.

Statement on Human Cloning and Human Cloning Legislation

July 2001

The National Health Council, which represents the nation's leading patient organizations, believes reproductive human cloning is irresponsible, unsafe and a misguided act. We agree with the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (June 1997) that it is unacceptable for anyone in the public or private sector, whether in a research or clinical setting, to create a human child using somatic cell nuclear transfer technology.

However, it is critical to distinguish between reproductive human cloning and therapeutic uses of cloning technology that have enormous potential to treat human disease and repair damaged tissue and organs. Current advances hold true promise for effectively treating and/or possibly curing diseases such as diabetes, various cancers, Huntington's, Alzheimer's disease, paralysis, heart disease and stroke, ALS and multiple sclerosis.

The National Health Council is concerned that broadly crafted legislation that attempts to ban reproductive human cloning may prevent the therapeutic use of cloning technology and techniques. This will hinder research and progress toward treating and curing deadly and debilitating disease. Cloning legislation must allow the proper use of human somatic cell nuclear transfer technology to produce molecules, cells and tissues for research and therapeutic use, while outlawing the implantation of cloned human embryos.

The issues related to cloning are complex and require thorough consideration of the implications various approaches aimed at banning the cloning of human beings might have on medical research. Making reproductive human cloning unlawful must be done in a way that does not deprive those suffering from debilitating chronic diseases, potential relief and possible cures.

CONTACT:    Chris Paladino of the National Health Council, +1-202-973-0542,
                  or cell: +1-202-390-7795


Copyright (C) 2001 PR Newswire