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Procedure : 2000/2598(RSP)
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Document selected : B5-0710/2000

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B5-0710/2000

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P5_TA(2000)0375

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B5-0710/2000
5 September 2000
PE 293.798
 
B5-0710/2000
further to the Commission statement
pursuant to Rule 37(2) of the Rules of Procedure
by Francesco Fiori, Peter Liese, Antonio Tajani, Antonios Trakatellis, Mario Mauro, Rocco Buttiglione, Luigi Cocilovo, Stefano Zappalà, Andria, Giorgio Lisi and Peter Liese
on behalf of the PPE-DE Group
on human cloning

Resolution on human cloning 
B5-0710/2000

The European Parliament,

-  having regard to its resolutions of 16 March 1989 on the ethical and legal problems of genetic engineering(1) and on artificial insemination "in vivo" and "in vitro"(2), and of 28 October 1993 on the cloning of the human embryo(3), of 12 March 1997 on cloning(4), and of 15 January 1998 on human cloning(5),

-  having regard to its resolution of 30 March 2000 on the decision by the European Patent Office with regard to patent No EP 695 351 of 18 December 1999(6),

-  having regard to the Council of Europe’s Convention for the protection of human rights and dignity of the human being with regard to the application of biology and medicine - the Convention on human rights and biomedicine - and its resolution of 20 September 1996 on this subject(7),

-  having regard to the reports of the Commission's advisory group on biotechnology,

-  having regard to Recommendation 1046 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the use of human embryos,

-  having regard to its opinion of 16 July 1997 on the proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions(8),

-  having regard to the Council of Europe’s Convention of 1996 for the protection of human rights and dignity of the human being with regard to the application of biology and medicine - called the Convention on human rights and biomedicine - and the additional protocol that forbids the cloning of human beings,

-  having regard to its opinion of 15 December 1998 on the proposal for a Council Decision adopting a specific programme for research, technological development and demonstration on ‘Quality of life and management of living resources’ (1998 to 2002),

-  having regard to Council Decision 1999/167/EC of 25 January 1999 adopting a specific programme for research, technological development and demonstration on quality of life and management of living resources (1998 to 2002),(9)

-  having regard to Directive 98/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 1998 on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions(10),

A.  whereas human dignity and the consequent value of each human being are the main aims of Member States, as stated in many modern constitutions,

B.  whereas human dignity implies on the one hand the equality of all human beings, independently of any diversity of individual or social conditions, age included, and on the other hand the principle that human life is always the end result and never the means,

C.  whereas not only in Great Britain but also in other countries in the European Union, a minority of scientists are urging politicians to lift the ban on human cloning,

D.  whereas its opinion of 15 December 1998 on the proposal for a Council Decision adopting a specific programme for research, technological development and demonstration on ‘Quality of life and management of living resources’ (1998 to 2002) included the following amendment to Annex II (b), fifth indent, second and third paragraphs: "No … research activities aiming at the creation of genetically identical human individuals by cloning, whether it involves embryo splitting or nucleus transfer – i.e. the production of humans or human embryos with the same genetic material as living or dead persons – will be carried out under the present programme. Owing to the different views within the European Union of the ethical problems associated with these technologies, no research in which embryos are destroyed will be carried out, either"(11),

E.  whereas Council Decision 1999/167/EC of 25 January 1999 adopting a specific programme for research, technological development and demonstration on quality of life and management of living resources (1998 to 2002) states: “In the same way, no research activity understood in the sense of the term 'cloning`, with the aim of replacing a germ or embryo cell nucleus with that of the cell of any individual, a cell from an embryo or a cell coming from a later stage of development to the human embryo, will be supported”,

F.  whereas Directive 98/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 1998 on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions states that there is a consensus within the Community that interventions in the human germ line and the cloning of human beings offends against ordre public and morality; whereas it is therefore important to exclude unequivocally from patentability processes for modifying the germ line genetic identity of human beings and processes for cloning human beings,

G.  whereas human cloning is defined as the creation of human embryos having the same genetic make-up as another human being, dead or alive, at any stage of their development from the moment of fertilisation, without any possible distinction as regards the method used,

H.  whereas cloning human embryos as planned in Great Britain always implies the destruction of the cloned embryo and the results of cloning,

I.  whereas human life begins when the autonomous development of the new generated identity starts, thus at the moment of conception, the moment of insemination,

J.  whereas exclusion of reproductive cloning only means stopping implantation in the uterus, and therefore the growth of the embryo, leading to the inevitable destruction of the embryo itself, but does not impede the generation of embryos and their destruction,

K.  whereas the technology of cloning human embryos is the same whether they are intended to be implanted in the womb or not, which means that support for so-called therapeutic cloning technically is a precondition for so-called reproductive cloning,

L.  whereas a number of scientists who advised the British Government said that at a later stage they would also support reproductive cloning,

M.  whereas there are other ways than embryonic cloning of curing serious illnesses, such as those that involve taking stem cells from adults or from the umbilical cords of new-born babies,

N.  whereas permitting and financing embryo cloning, which is seriously offensive to human dignity, implies a reduction of research into other means which are more respectful of human dignity,

O.  whereas experimentation on existing embryos left over from in-vitro insemination offends human dignity,

P.  whereas it is possible to avoid the production of embryos by artificial insemination, which has already been negatively viewed by the European Parliament, by freezing eggs before insemination,

1.  Believes that human rights and respect for human dignity from the moment of conception must be the constant aim of political legislative activity and, when there is doubt, they must be interpreted in the sense of extending protection and not of limiting it;

2.  Invites the UK Government to review its position on human embryo cloning and the UK parliament not to allow it;

3.  Repeats its call to each Member State to enact binding legislation prohibiting all research into any kind of human cloning within its territory and providing for criminal penalties for any breach;

4.  Considers the distinction between embryo and pre-embryo as if they were different entities (the former human and the latter not) as unacceptable;

5.  Considers the distinction between reproductive cloning and non-reproductive cloning as unacceptable as the embryo is, in any case, a "reproduced" human being;

6.  Urges maximum political, legislative, scientific and economic efforts to be aimed at therapies that use stem cells taken from adult subjects or that, in any event, do not entail any destruction of human embryonic life;

7.  Calls for a European scientific programme which pursues special molecular biology techniques that produce the same results as the cloning of organs from the stem cells of human embryos;

8.  Reaffirms its full support for biotechnological scientific research, to which the EU and Member States must allocate more resources;

9.  Considers that destructive experimentation on human embryos must not be permitted and invites Member States not to authorise this kind of experimentation;

10.  Renews its call for human artificial insemination techniques that do not produce an excess number of embryos - which is more than the number which can be implanted in the uterus in one cycle - in order to avoid generating superfluous embryos;

11.  Invites the Commission to guarantee full respect for Council Decision 1999/167/EC of 25 January 1999 adopting a specific programme for research, technological development and demonstration on quality of life and management of living resources (1998 to 2002) and points out that the best way to implement this decision is to ensure that no research institution that is in any way involved in the cloning of human embryos gets money from the EU budget for any of their work;

12.  Calls on the Convention for the drawing up of draft Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union to include the prohibition of the cloning of human beings at all stages of their development in the Charter;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments of the Member States.

(1) OJ C 96, 17.4.1989, p. 165.
(2) OJ C 96, 17.4.1989, p. 171.
(3) OJ C 315, 22.11.1993, p. 224.
(4) OJ C 115, 14.4.1997, p. 92.
(5) OJ C 34, 2.2.1998, p. 164.
(6)Texts adopted, Item 9.
(7) OJ C 320, 20.9.1996, p. 268.
(8) OJ C 286, 22.9.1997, p. 87.
(9) OJ L 64, 12.3.1999, p. 1.
(10) OJ L 213, 30.7.1998, p. 13.
(11) OJ C 98, 9.4.1999, p. 39.

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