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UN backs US-supported ban on human cloning

[JURIST] In a split 84-34 vote that is being claimed as a symbolic victory for the Bush administration, the UN General Assembly Tuesday urged governments to enact a total ban on human cloning [UN news release], including the cloning of embryos for stem cell research. The US had worked with anti-abortion groups to support the proposal, which also found success with primarily Roman Catholic countries. Nations opposing the ban, many of which cited the potential for curing disease through stem cell research, said the non-binding resolution would have no impact on scientists' cloning efforts. Thirty-seven nations, many of them Islamic, abstained. The UN statement is all that could be salvaged from a four-year international effort to frame a comprehensive human cloning treaty. Reuters has more. The Register reports on British opposition to the ban, including the statement of British Health Secretary John Reid that the stem cell research industry in the UK will remain "open for business", while emphasizing that reproductive cloning is already outlawed in the UK.

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