American Medical Association Endorses Human Cloning for Research Purposes
The American Medical Association House of Delegates on Tuesday at their annual meeting in Chicago voted to endorse human cloning for research purposes, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. In a committee report, the AMA said that treatments made possible by harvesting stem cells from cloned human embryos "could save lives, improve quality of life and alleviate suffering" (Ritter, Chicago Sun-Times, 6/18). Stem cells have the potential to grow into any cell in the body and could be used to treat a variety of degenerative conditions, according to the AP/Hampton Roads Daily Press (Tanner, AP/Hampton Roads Daily Press, 6/17). The AMA called reproductive cloning "wrong" but said that the benefits of cloning for research purposes were too important not to explore, according to the Sun-Times (Chicago Sun-Times, 6/18). The AMA endorsed cloning for research purposes only if there is "appropriate oversight and monitoring" and only if individuals undergoing treatment using stem cells derived from cloning are fully informed of all relevant risks and benefits (AMA release, 6/17).
Dr. Michael Goldrich, incoming chair of the AMA's ethics committee, which wrote the resolution, said "This is really giving guidance to physicians on the science and the ethics," adding, "We can't remain silent" (Reuters/Washington Post, 6/18). Opponents of research cloning, including President Bush, say that the practice is unethical because human embryos are destroyed after stem cells are harvested, according to the Sun-Times. "A number of us believe that human beings start with two cells," Dr. John McMahon, an AMA member, said (Chicago Sun-Times, 6/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.