Friday, June 11, 2010

Kagan to Clinton: Don't ban the cloning of human embryos for research

Americans United for Life has a press release which unearths how Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan encouraged President Clinton to keep human cloning for research legal when she was his domestic policy advisor.
In a May 29, 1997 memo to the President, Kagan and Jack Gibbons (Assistant to the President for Science and Technology) recommended: “(1) that [the President] support domestic legislation banning human cloning, and . . . announce specific legislation at the top of your June 10th press conference; and (2) that the U.S. support the gist of France’s proposed cloning paragraph [in the G-8 Communiqué] while insisting on critical modifications.”[1] However, as the memo explains, Kagan’s “ban” on cloning only banned the use of cloning aimed at the live-birth of a baby, not at cloning that takes human life.

A June 3, 1997 memo to the President from Todd Stern (Staff Secretary) and Phil Caplan (Assistant to the President), which was submitted along with Kagan’s memo, clarified that the proposed ban should allow the cloning of human embryos for experimentation. With a check mark, President Clinton indicated his approval of the recommendation by “Jack/Elena . . . that you announce your support for NBAC-type[2] legislation and that you propose specific legislative language”.[3]

In a follow-up June 8, 1997 memo to the President, Kagan and Gibbons further clarified that “NBAC’s proposed legislation –and, as currently drafted, your bill –would not ban the creation of cloned embryos for research purposes.”[4] On the same day, Stern drove that home once again in bold-face type, writing: “[t]he attached Kagan/Gibbons memo recommends that you follow NBAC in not banning the cloning of embryos for research.”[5]

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