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8-Humans: UK bans human reproductive cloning

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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  The text of the British Governments new legislation to ban Human
        Reproductive Cloning
SOURCE: Human Genetics Alert, UK
DATE:   November 24, 2001

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The text of the British Governments new legislation to ban Human 
Reproductive Cloning

A Bill to prohibit the placing in a woman of a human embryo which has been 
created otherwise than by fertilisation.

1. The Offence 
1. A person who places in a woman a human embryo which has been created 
otherwise than by fertilisation is guilty of an offence.
2. A person who is guilty of the offence is liable on conviction on 
indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or a fine or 

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Human cloning ban expected
SOURCE: BBC News, sent by  Human Genetics Alert, UK
DATE:   November 22, 2001

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Human cloning ban expected

A bill explicitly banning human reproduction through cloning is being 
published by the UK Government on Thursday after it passed a first reading 
unopposed in the House of Lords on Wednesday. Ministers say their aim is to 
close a recently exposed loophole in the current law that could be used to 
justify any unlicensed cloning experiments. Critics say the government is 
rushing to bring forward bad legislation and they will make strenuous 
efforts to amend it. The government action was deemed necessary after anti-
abortion campaigners, the Pro-Life Alliance, won a High Court ruling last 
week that laid bare a major deficiency in the legislation covering 
embryology research.

Medical malpractice

This flaw centred on the legal definition of an embryo - the union of an 
egg and a sperm. Because a clone is produced in a different way, the judge 
ruled that current regulations did not embrace the new technology. This 
loophole, in theory, could allow someone to conduct cloning experiments 
without the licensed permission of the Human Fertilization and Embryology 
Authority, the body that is supposed to oversee this area of research. In 
reality, commentators said, other laws relating to medical malpractice and 
even assault could be used to prevent cloning experiments.

Therapeutic cloning

Nevertheless, the government is determined to remove the legal flaw. It 
also intends to appeal against the High Court ruling. Ministers hope that 
by closing the loophole researchers will then be properly licensed to carry 
out a more limited form of cloning - so-called therapeutic cloning - that 
aims to develop replacement cells to treat degenerative diseases. The 
government's critics say the country's embryology legislation is deeply 
flawed and there is little point in merely trying to patch it up. Peers and 
MPs opposed to the use of embryos for research on ethical grounds say they 
will attempt to amend the bill so that both reproductive and therapeutic 
cloning are banned.

'Proven success'

Richard Gardiner, chairman of the Royal Society, argues this would be 
wrong: "We need to secure a watertight ban on reproductive cloning," he 
told Radio 4's Today programme. "But we would argue very strongly not at 
the expense of therapeutic cloning, which is a vital technique for helping 
us to understand how you can reprogram the genetic information from 
specialised cells so that we can more effectively help patients.

Lord Alton, who opposes all forms of human cloning, told Today an 
alternative had emerged since previous legislation was drafted. "Since 
January last, impressive new evidence... illustrates that there is an 
alternative, and that's the use of adult stem cells. There's a vast 
biomedical potential there, a proven success record in laboratory culture 
and a proven success record in current clinical treatment," he said.


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