Archbishop Renato Martino, permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke on Monday in New York before the Ad Hoc Committee On An International Convention Against The Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings. He reiterated the Holy See's "well known" position on this question, saying it "supports and urges a world-wide comprehensive ban on human embryonic cloning for both reproductive and scientific purposes." "Based on the biological and anthropological status of the human embryo and on the fundamental moral and civil rule," he affirmed, "it is illicit to kill an innocent even to bring about a good for society." The apostolic nuncio noted that "the Holy See looks upon the distinction between 'reproductive' and so-called 'therapeutic' (or 'experimental') cloning to be unacceptable. This distinction masks the reality of the creation of a human being for the purpose of destroying him or her to produce embryonic stem cell lines or to conduct other experimentation." On the other hand, he asserted, "the Holy See supports research on stem cells of post-natal origin since this approach ... is a sound, promising and ethical way to achieve tissue transplantation and cell therapy that could benefit humanity." "Attempts at human cloning with a view to obtaining organs for transplants, ... insofar as they involve the manipulation and destruction of human embryos, are not morally acceptable." He underscored that the prospect of "cloning a human embryo, while intentionally planning its demise ... is repugnant to most people, including those who properly advocate for advancement in science and medicine." Archbishop Martino pointed out that with some modern techniques "there is a risk of a new form of racism, for the development of these techniques could lead to the creation of a 'sub-category of human beings', destined basically for the convenience of certain others." Furthermore, if certain characteristics are selected and propagated through cloning, "this would be akin to the practice of eugenics leading to the institution of a 'super race'." He concluding by noting that "the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reiterates the sanctity of all human life" and that "international law guarantees the right to life to all, not just some, human beings." source: Vatican Information Service
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