President Bush wants to outlaw human cloning. He is calling on Senate Democrats to pass legislation banning the creation of human embryos that are the genetic twins of a donor.
The President wants to outlaw the use of the genetic duplication as both a potential method for creating children and a tool of medical research.
Unlike a decision on the use of embryonic stem cells last year where the president reached a compromise between scientists and religious conservatives, he says there is no middle ground when it comes to duplicating human embryos. "Human cloning is deeply troubling to me and to most Americans. Life is a creation not a commodity," he said.
President Bush says it is a time of great scientific progress that history may record as the "age of genetic medicine." But he says that progress comes with the responsibility to choose which means justify the ends of medical advances.
"Our age must also be defined by the care and restraint and responsibility with which we take-up these new scientific powers. Advances in biomedical technology must never come at the expense of human conscience," he said.
President Bush wants the U.S. Senate to approve a cloning ban similar to one that has already passed the House of Representatives. He rejects a rival Senate bill allowing for cloning in research because it ultimately leads to the destruction of human embryos.
"Research cloning would contradict the most fundamental principle of medical ethics that no human life should be exploited or extinguished for the benefit of another," he said.
Many senators oppose cloning to create human beings but favor its use in research. With the legislation expected to come up for a vote in the next few weeks, President Bush says it would be a mistake for the Senate to allow any kind of human cloning.
"Allowing cloning would be taking a significant step toward a society in which human beings are grown for spare body parts and children are engineered to custom specifications, and that is not acceptable," he said.
Conservatives oppose cloning for research because extracting the stem cells necessary for testing kills a living human embryo. President Bush last August decided to allow federal funding for stem cells but only for those cultures that existed then and were made from embryos that were to be discarded by fertility clinics.