THE PRESIDENTIAL CABINET
HILARY CLINTON AND CLONING
THE DREAM AND THE REALITY
by Dee Finney
|8-19-2001 - DREAM - I was working for some important people in a large
factory. I was in the section where all the spare parts were kept in cabinets.
There was some consideration being made about lack of space in the place.
I noted that one stack of shelves was held up by a set of 12" wheels, so I suggested that using 14" wheels instead would allow them to use the 12" wheels elsewhere where they were really needed.
They heard me, but didn't comment. Suddenly then, a woman came in and showed me that they had actually ratcheted down the cabinet shelves and had deliberately done this so people didn't know the space was there, hidden from them. A woman ratcheted them up two shelves while I stood there.
I then went into a small room where the electronics, alarms, and other warning devices were kept. However, they hunted me down and demanded that I discuss a controversial topic with them. They showed me that bringing these controversial topics out into the open and discussing them actually ratcheted them around so they got opinions on them. That's why they hadn't brought them out into the open earlier.
I then discovered who the real boss was. It was Hilary Clinton. She was mad at me because I wouldn't discuss 'cloning' with her. She showed me that cloning was a 'pink' topic and demanded that I come into the women's bathroom and discuss it with her and a couple other women.
I quipped back at her, "I don't want to clone myself, but now we should discuss cloning YOU????"
She laughed and walked into the women's bathroom, fully knowing I was following her to discuss this controversial issue.
NOTE: Later on, I was laying in bed and thinking about this subject and I saw the words, "There is no leadership in this discussion. "
President George Bush and Vice President Cheney
Here is a list of President George W. Bush's cabinet appointees:
THE PRESIDENTIAL CABINET
The Presidential Cabinet currently consists of 14 members. No American President can possibly be an expert in all of the administrative areas for which the executive head of government is responsible. Consequently, a president must rely on a group of advisers, carefully selected for their knowledge and experience in various fields, to provide advice and information on the issues and developments affecting each of the executive departments of government. This group of advisers is called the cabinet.
Each president, with the consent of the Senate, appoints a group of cabinet officers called secretaries (with the exception of the Department of Justice head who is called the attorney general) to head each of the 14 executive departments.
The U. S. Constitution makes no specific provision for a presidential cabinet. It says only that the president " ... may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices. ... " The first recorded cabinet meeting took place between President George Washington and his department heads in 1791.
The term "cabinet" comes from the Italian word cabinetto, meaning "a small room" (hence, a private meeting place). Cabinet meetings are held in the Cabinet Room at the White House. Although there is no official schedule, some presidents have met with their cabinets on a weekly basis. These meetings commonly are attended by the Vice President, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and any other executive branch officials that the president might designate. Together, these men and women bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the discussions of solutions to the problems that face the country.
American cabinet officers may not be members of Congress. Because they are not elected officials, they are responsible only to the president, who may dismiss them at any time. Cabinet officers are expected to resign when a president leaves office, since it is customary for incoming presidents to choose their own staff.
|George Washington was elected the first president and he organized the
first presidential cabinet. They had the Secretary of State, who was over
foreign affairs. The Secretary of Defense, who is over the military. And
the Secretary of Treasury, who is over the money.
Although the Constitution made no provision for a president's advisory group, the heads of the three executive departments (State, Treasury, and War) and the Attorney General were organized by Washington into such a group; and by about 1793, the name Cabinet was applied to it. With the exception of the Attorney General up to 1870 and the Postmaster General from 1829 to 1872, Cabinet members have been heads of executive departments.
With the creation of the Department of Transportation in 1966, the Cabinet consisted of 12 members. This figure was reduced to 11 when the Post Office Department became an independent agency in 1970 but, with the establishment in 1977 of a Department of Energy, became 12 again. Creation of the Department of Education in 1980 raised the number to 13. Creation of the Department of Veterans' Affairs in 1989 raised the number to 14.
OTHER HILARY CLINTON DREAMS
9-9-99 - DREAM - I was working on a web page that showed the placement of political candidate Hilary Clinton and another woman were moved down so that several men were placed above them.
Bill Clinton was placed second from the bottom.
On another page JFK, Jr. was placed in a box and his name was made with rainbow colored letters.
JFK, JR., his wife and wife's sister died in a plane crash on 7-17-99.
8-15-00 - DREAM - I was working as an inspector in a large apartment building. Hilary Clinton seemed to be the person who was in charge of paying the workers. I was walking through the apartments, inspecting the ceilings and walls and making the decisions on which ones needed to be painted or repaired.
On a clipboard which I had in my hands, I had elaborate time sheets to fill in for the painters who were walking behind me. One of the painters, who looked very familiar to me, looked at the time sheet and the list of apartments I was making with the work to be done, said, "I learned my lesson."
8-15-00 - I can't recall this dream in detail, but Hilary Clinton was also in this dream and I inspected rooms that were 5 sided.They were called something special which I also can't remember.
4-6-01 - DREAM - I was managing a hotel or motel or both. I was working in the kitchen, and getting angry that people weren't eating their vegetables. I almost threw a large red and white striped glass of water across the room, I was so angry about that. I was taking a pizza down the street to a place where they baked them, and forgot to put it on a pizza tray. That's how I discovered that the vegetables hadn't been eaten, while I was looking for that pan.
A woman came by me who was heading towards the banquet room. She said she was in charge of the Diamond dinner. I couldn't figure out who the Diamond dinner was for. I saw Hilary Clinton sitting at an outside table in the courtyard. I told her, "That Diamond dinner sure isn't for you!"
I then went with my friend Monica, late at night to a motel I was managing. We pulled into the parking lot in the dark. Monica was driving. She got out of the car and waved a larger truck into the space right next to us. She told me that I should register them. I reluctantly, and tiredly got out of the car and trudged over to the building.
I entered the lobby and all kinds of people were in the lobby, waiting for me to open the office. Four seemingly thief-type guys ran from the lobby and went up the stairs as a huge cop came in the door. I told the cop that they had run upstairs. He said, "They just beat the curfew!" I told the two Russian truck drivers to come into the office with me. I had the key in my hand and was just sticking it into the lock to open the door when I woke up. I actually expected the key to be in my hand when I woke up. It was that real.
Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Champion for Working Families
Hillary Clinton has been an advocate for working families for more than thirty years, from her days in youth religious groups to her years as First Lady of the United States.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 26, 1947, Hillary is the daughter of Dorothy Rodham and the late Hugh Rodham. She grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois and attended public school.
"My father was a small businessman, who taught us by his example the values of hard work and responsibility," Hillary said of her parents. "My mother organized our daily lives and fed us with her devotion, imagination and great spirit. I learned from them the importance of families: how parents through their dedication enable their children to have a better life. I think that's the most important lesson I've ever learned."
After graduation from Wellesley College in 1969, Hillary enrolled in Yale Law School, where she met Bill Clinton, a fellow law student. They married in 1975, and their daughter Chelsea was born in 1980. Chelsea is now a student at Stanford University.
Living in Arkansas, Hillary practiced law and worked on a number of initiatives benefiting families, including education and health care. In Bill Clinton's second term as Governor, she chaired the Arkansas Education Standards Committee, which resulted in increased support for public education, higher standards and teacher testing. She founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, and introduced to the state the Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youth, based on a program she first observed while visiting Israel.
Hillary served on the Board of Directors of several successful companies such as Wal-Mart and TCBY; non-profit organizations, including the Children's Defense Fund and Arkansas Children's Hospitals; and the Center on Education and the Economy, then based in Rochester, N.Y. She was named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in America by American Lawyer Magazine.
In 1993 newly elected President Bill Clinton named Hillary to chair the Task Force on National Health Care Reform. After months of meeting with families and health care professionals, the Task Force recommended the Health Care Security Act of 1994. "When people ask me about health care reform, I tell them that I am disappointed we were not able to make more progress." Hillary said. "Now I'm from the school of smaller steps, but I believe we must continue to make progress. It's still important that we increase access to quality health care for working families."
Hillary led administration efforts to pass the Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides health insurance for millions of children in working families; she worked for greater funding for breast cancer research and treatment for breast cancer, prostate and colon cancer, osteoporosis and juvenile diabetes. A strong supporter of a woman's right to choose, Hillary has worked to increase access to family planning and reproductive health care. She is a strong supporter of the HMO Patient's Bill of Rights, and taking action to strengthen Medicare and include prescription drug benefits.
When Gulf War veterans were unable to get answers to their concerns about Gulf War syndrome, Hillary led a Special Committee that met with veterans and their families, resulting in new policies and improved care. And she has continued to work for children's hospitals: the proceeds from her best selling book It Takes A Village went to benefit children's hospitals. In 1999, she led efforts to secure funding for pediatric training in children's hospitals to ensure quality medical care.
Continuing her work on behalf of public education, Hillary has supported more accountability in public schools coupled with greater investment including higher standards, quality teachers, school construction and modernization, smaller class size, and safe and orderly schools. She supported increases in after-school programs, which enable students to continue learning in safe environments, and arts and music education, which raise the overall level of student performance.
Hillary has championed efforts to keep our children and families safe, leading the effort to organize a national campaign to prevent youth violence that is now underway. She has called for common sense gun control measures, and a voluntary, unified ratings system to give parents more information about their children's media choices.
Hillary has been a leader on other issues important to working families, including the Family and Medical Leave Act. She brought to the White House two historic conferences on child care and early childhood development, calling attention to the need to increase the availability of quality child care for working parents, and to enable our children to reach their full potential.
Making adoption easier and reforming our nation's foster care system have been important priorities for Hillary. She worked to ensure passage of the Adoption and Safe Family Act of 1997, making it easier for children to move from foster care to permanent homes and increase the number of adoptions.
Hillary is committed to expanding opportunity to working families. She supported the balanced budget and believes this country must continue on the path of fiscal responsibility, with targeted tax cuts to enable families to meet their responsibilities, such as long-term care and college costs.
"No one who takes the responsibility to work hard every day should have to raise their family in poverty," Hillary says. That's why she supports raising the minimum wage, and equal pay for equal work. She worked with former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin to increase microcredit programs, which make investment capital available to small businesses.
At the White House, Hillary has featured American art and talent at events ranging from the traditional Easter Egg Roll to Millennial Evenings, the first ever cybercasts from the East Room. Her program to Save America's Treasures brought attention and support to important historic sites, including Seneca Falls and other communities in New York where women first called for the right to vote.
Traveling abroad on behalf of our country, Hillary has been an eloquent voice for human rights and democracy, highlighting the need for education for girls and boys, and access to economic opportunity and health care for women and men. She spoke about the importance of religious tolerance in Morocco, Turkey and Uzbekistan, and human rights in China. At the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing, Hillary said, "We must respect the choices that each women makes for herself and her family. If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights."
In the summer of 1999, Hillary took a listening tour through New York, talking with people about their concerns and hopes for the future. A number of prominent New Yorkers asked Hillary to become a candidate to succeed Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the United States Senate. Before making that decision, she wanted to hear from the people who had the most at stake.
"The issues people talked to me about - their concerns for their children's education, for health care, for a better future for their families -were the issues I've worked on all my life," Hillary said. " People told me they wanted leaders who were on their side, working with them to make a difference. That's the leadership I offer."
On February 6, 2000, with her family by her side, Hillary officially announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
Paid for by the Hillary Rodham Clinton For U.S. Senate Committee, Inc
© 2000 All Rights Reserved
Hilary Rodham Clinton, considered a possible candidate for the presidency of the United States of America, told the New York Post that she has ruled out running for the White House not just in 2004, but also in 2008 and beyond that date. This would appear to be a complete volte face on her previous position. This statement was made when the ex First Lady was pressed to clarify a comment she had made earlier referring to the presidency when she said, it is not something I am going to be doing (sic). The interviewer on behalf of the New York Post asked her, So, Senator Clinton, are you ruling out a run for the presidency not just in 2004 but in 2008 and beyond? According to the New York Post she replied, Yes. A top Clinton aide later stated that he was unsure whether or not Hilary Clinton had ever made such an ironclad refusal. It would seem that there are folk in the Clinton for President camp who have got their lines crossed very badly. Anyone who would take a bet against Hilary running for president within the next ten years would be very foolish indeed. Time will tell.
I am a strong supporter of reproductive choice. I believe that abortion should be safe, legal and rare; and I know that we have to keep working legally, politically and in making health care policy, so that every child is wanted and every woman will have reproductive health and freedom of choice. I have seen what happens to women when governments criminalize reproductive freedom, as they did in Romania, or dictate childbearing choices, as happened in China. I have consistently worked to increase access to health care, including reproductive health care such as family planning and abortions, at every income level, and to build and maintain support for international family planning.
Learning from the Health Care Plan: When people ask me if I am discouraged about the defeat of health care reform, I say, "Yes, I was disappointed that we were not able to make more progress." But I learned about what is possible in the political environment. I come from the school of smaller steps now. The belief that making smaller changes, incremental changes that will help some people is better than walking away and saying there is nothing we can do.
Patient's Bill of Rights: We can start by making sure that whether someone chooses managed care or traditional pay for service care, they receive quality care. That means they have a right to access a specialist when they need a specialist. They have a right of continuity of care with people who they trust to care for them. They have a right to some assistance to appeal a decision that their doctors have made that breaks a bond of trust and denies them the care to which they should be entitled.
Health care for the Uninsured: The fastest growing group of the uninsured is people between the ages of 55 and 65. For Americans 55 and older I support the proposal that you should be able to buy into Medicare. And if your company reneges on its commitment to provide you with retiree benefits, you should be able to get COBRA coverage until you're 65.
About a quarter of the people who are uninsured in our society are children. These are children who, by and large, are in families that work for a living, but are not poor enough to be eligible for Medicaid. We've made some progress on this. In 1997, the President proposed and the Congress passed CHIP - the Children's Health Insurance Program. But there are still more than an 11 million uninsured children. Some of those children are eligible for Medicaid and should be encouraged to apply. Others should be reached through CHIP.
I support proposing tax incentives to encourage the formation of voluntary purchasing coalitions that will help small businesses have access to affordable, quality insurance - and tax credits to help them join.
Privacy and Genetic Discrimination: No American should have to worry that his or her medical records will be used to violate their privacy. Or that if they were to take some test that was medically necessary, that the results of that test could be used to discriminate against them in keeping and holding jobs for insurance.
THE WEF (WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM)
by Joan M Veon
301/774-7856 (F) 301/774-3339
PRESS RELEASE February 13, 1997 PRESS RELEASE
VEON COVERS THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM 1/28 - 2/3 - DAVOS, SWITZERLAND
IF POWER LUNCHES CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS, GUESS WHAT A SIX DAY FORUM THAT INVITES THE POWER-BROKERS OF THE WORLD CAN DO---CHANGE THE WORLD!!!!
Speaker Newt Gingrich said of the World Economic Forum (WEF), " [It] is a remarkable social invention which brings together more people from more places in a more efficient manner than any place I have seen. This is a truly remarkable and vital week that opens up many opportunities for the entire planet." Hillary Clinton called the WEF, "the World Economic, Political and Social Forum."
For 28 years, Professor Klaus Schwab, the originator of the WEF, has been bringing the world's power leaders together. This year's theme was "Priorities for the 21st Century - Managing Volatility." The Forum's mandate is to bring the captains, kings and (now) queens of industry together to hobnob with the leaders of both the UN nation-states and the United Nations international structure in order to form (business) partnerships. Their motto is "Committed to Improving the State of the World."
It was the WEF that said in 1987 to give "Gorbachev a chance," which they say, contributed to the end of the Cold War. Mr. Gorbachev, who started holding his own annual meetings in 1995, calls them the "Gorbachev State of the World Forum." He, too, courts multinational corporations, a number of which paid up to $250,000 ($50,000 minimum) for the honor of supporting his first Forum.
Among the beautiful, rich, and brainy were eight members of the Trilateral Commission, forty-four members of the Council for Foreign Relations, three who were members of both, sixty-nine with a current or past affiliation with the United Nations system, nine Fulbright/Rhodes Scholars and eight from the Royal Institute for International Affairs which endeavors to carry out the legacy of Cecil Rhodes in re-uniting America with Britain.* These represent 8.92% of the 1,580 participants in the Participants Handbook. Another 333 or 21% have PhDs. The largest number of PhDs are in economics (102) with law coming in second (61). Is this the "brain trust" which Gorbachev called for at his 1995 State of the World Forum? Lastly, two members of the group are members of the Socialist International: Gro Harlem Brundtland, recently designated to head of the World Health Organization, and Shimon Peres, a member of the Israeli Parliament.
The WEF - the Seat of the world's power
International journalist and businesswoman Joan Veon remarked, "When I went to the UN mega- conferences in Cairo, Copenhagen, Istanbul and Rome, I thought I was at the seat of power, when I went to the IMF/World Bank and the Group of Seven/Group of Eight meetings, I thought I was at the seat of power, when I went to the International Organization of Security Commissions (IOSCO - considered "the United Nations of Security Commissions," i.e. stock exchanges), I felt I was getting close. When I went to the World Economic Forum, I realized I was at the apex of the world's power."
Public-Private Partnerships is the Purpose of the WEF
The purpose of the World Economic Forum is to bring together both government and business to create partnerships. For example, in an interview which Joan Veon conducted with Sven Sandstrom of the World Bank, she asked him about public-private partnerships. Public private partnerships are a way of creating investment by business in government through a business partnership agreement for profit. He said that they had: made progress with numerous international business groups, were working with the International Forestry Commission and was also in the process of establishing a commission on large dams with chief executive officers of construction and power companies along with non-government organizations who represent civil society.
The World Economic Forum held over 200 workshops in six days in order to apprise the participants of the state of the world as they see it. The topics included medicine, death/dying, spirituality, cloning, geopolitics, the US in the 21st Century, the Euro and the Common Market, "Governing globalization," Asia and the Asian crisis-- what needs to be done, corporate governance and the role of the CEO in the 21st century, the centerless corporation, regional meetings on NAFTA, Europe, China, Asia/Middle East, global warming and educating tomorrow's global citizen, to name a few.
US Participants to the WEF
Those attending from United States government included First Lady Hilary Clinton, HHS Secretary Donna Shalala, Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Orin Hatch (R-UT), Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA) and Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) as well as Speaker Newt Gingrich. CEO's from corporations which originate in the U.S. included, CocaCola, Sara Lee, DuPont, TRW, 3M, ARCO, the Perot Group, Texaco, U.S. West (all of these are part of the Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum), along with Philips Petroleum, Pepsi, Xerox, P&G, Kemper International, Ford Motor, Case Corporation, and Dow Chemical to name a few. In an interview with the CEO of Case Corporation, he said he came to the WEF because there was no other place where you could get the feel of what was happening in the world in one week.
Major Theme - Managing Volatility - The Final Step to Total World Integration
Since July 1997, Asia has been experiencing a loss of confidence in the value of their currencies. The Finance Minister of Malaysia has blamed George Soros for selling their currencies in such huge amounts that they have crashed. Another likely scenario could be that the Koreans, Japanese and Malaysians would not play global ball with the world's international financial institutions. Since the world's monetary system is in the hands of private corporations, called central banks, a currency crash (in which all the central banks sold the currency of these countries at the same time) was pre-planned in order to help them decide to sign the World Trade Organization's Financial Services Agreement on December 12. This Agreement basically allows all of the world's banks, insurance companies and brokerage firms to buy and invest anywhere in the world.
The answer to managing volatility from all of the experts, whether they were from the UN system---the World Bank/IMF/ UN/World Trade Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) or industry such as George Soros, economic and financial experts, and the Bank for International Settlements is that the UN system has to be given greater power in their ability to react to international crisis not only on an international level but also on a national level. In addition to strengthening the global oversight capacities of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), it was recommended over and over again that the banking rules which they have issued for large international banks now be applied to the banks located inside of a country. What this really means is that the final integration between the international infrastructure which has been evolving since 1945 and now the local/national level of every country be combined into one---an empowerment of world government.
Gingrich and Clinton call for a new paradigm
This empowerment theme of further integration between the global and the local was also born out by Speaker Newt Gingrich and First Lady Hillary Clinton. Newt called for a "very deep and profound reform of our educational system, the establishment of a lifetime learning system, a new vision and paradigm," in addition to an international police force. Hillary Clinton reinforced the mergers of the economic, environmental and social which is being facilitated by the UN system. She said, "[A]s we go into the 21st Century, if we can keep in mind the balance of power among these three spheres that effect all our lives and if we can look for ways to work cooperatively together, then I think the doomsayers and the pessimists will be proven wrong." She called, as her husband did in his State of the Nation speech, for public private partnerships. She said, "It is impossible to think of any corporation, no matter how large or any government, no matter how powerful, addressing [the needs of civil society] alone. Whether we like it or not, we are more interdependent today than we have every been. I believe that interdependence is a good development. And it should be respected by governments and businesses alike."
The theme which has been enforced by the World Economic Forum is that we are one, there are no borders any longer-- as a result of the Internet, knowledge is borderless and money is borderless since $1.2T moves around the world daily looking for the highest return or quickest play. Therefore, we are one and must act for the good of the whole which means the empowerment of the UN system as it seeks more power in expanding its domain from the global to the local, where you and I live.
Interestingly enough, it was brought to my attention that this conference, in keeping with the lunar cycle, began on the Jewish Feast of the New Moon, January 28 and ended the day of the crescent moon, 2/3/98. At 5,000 feet up in the mountains, there was more than talk, negotiations and sash-shaying going on. The meeting in Davos, at the very least, defines the political, economic and business agenda for the year.
*Please read my book, Prince Charles the Sustainable Prince, please call for a courtesy copy.
|Date: 27 Feb 2000
Subject: Italian PM urges consultations on human cloning
Italian PM urges consultations on human cloning
By Amelia Torres
BRUSSELS, Feb 24, 2000 (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Massimo d'Alema on Thursday called for urgent discussions on genetic engineering after the European Patent Office granted a patent which could result in the cloning of humans. "There is considerable concern in public opinion regarding the use of biotechnology for unacceptable manipulation; manipulation which is unacceptable in ethical and legal terms," d'Alema said after talks with European Commission President Romano Prodi on a range of EU issues.
D'Alema told a news conference he called for "immediate legal consultations" on the issue and asked the Commission to look into all possible courses of action. The Munich-based office, which is not part of the EU, granted a patent on altering cells and human embryos to Edinburgh University last December.
This week it acknowledged it had made a mistake by overlooking the patent's potential use on humans. But the discovery caused an uproar among European governments and environmental activists. Ministers in Germany and Italy have criticised the EPO decision as legally and ethically wrong and said they were considering an appeal.
European patents are requested through the EPO and then issued by national patent offices. From July 30 they will be subject to a European directive on the protection of biotechnological inventions.
Once this happens any national government could ban any patents found to be in violation of EU law. Edinburgh University and an Australian biotech firm, Stem Cell Sciences, applied to the Munich office for a patent to alter genetically the cells of mammals, which could then be used to create embryos. Although the office confessed to a mistake, only a formal protest can reverse the decision.
EU governments agreed in 1998 rules on patents for biotechnological inventions after an emotional debate which raged for almost 10 years. Critics of genetic engineering raised fears of the "Frankenstein monsters" that might be created. The rules allow patents for inventions such as genetically modified tomatoes or animals genetically altered for medical research purposes. But they specifically ban procedures to clone human beings and the commercial use of human embryos.
HILARY CLINTON AND HER BID TO CONQUER THE AMERICAN HEALTH PROGRAM
When Hilary Clinton tried to launch an open debate about possibly launching a public healthcare system in the US, the AMA spent $ 54 million attacking her, said David Barrett, former premier of British Columbia and co-founder of the institute. A public healthcare system in the US isn't very likely because there is too much money at stake in the business, he said.
Hepatitis B Vaccine
STATEMENT of the ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN PHYSICIANS & SURGEONS to the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources of the Committee on Government Reform U.S. House of Representatives RE: Submitted by Jane Orient, M.D.
June 14, 1999 Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:
My name is Jane Orient, M.D. I am a practicing internist from Tucson, Arizona, and serve as the Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons ("AAPS"). AAPS is a nationwide organization of physicians devoted to defending the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship. AAPS revenue is derived almost exclusively from membership dues. We receive no government funding, foundation grants, or revenue from vaccine manufacturers. No members of our governing body (the Board of Directors), have a conflict of interest because of a position with an agency making vaccine policy or any entity deriving profits from mandatory vaccines.
It is apparent that small committees whose members have incestuous ties with agencies that stand to gain power, or manufacturers that stand to gain enormous profits, from the policy that is made, are making critical medical decisions for an entire generation of American children. Even if such members recuse themselves from specific votes, they are permitted to participate in discussions and thus influence the decision. Moreover, there is the potential for deal making. Or there may be a simple disinclination to cause problems for one member's agenda in the expectation that that member will reciprocate.
Once a vaccine is mandated for children, the manufacturer and the physician administering the vaccine are substantially relieved of liability for adverse effects. The relationship of patient and physician is dramatically altered: in administering the vaccine, the physician is serving as the agent of the state. To the extent that the physician simply complies without making an independent evaluation of the appropriateness of the vaccine for each patient, he is abdicating his responsibility under the Oath of Hippocrates to "prescribe regimen for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone."
Should a physician advise against a mandated vaccine, he faces increased legal liability should the patient acquire the disease. Moreover, he may risk his very livelihood if he is dependent upon income from "health plans" that use vaccine compliance as a measure of "quality."
It is perhaps not surprising, although still reprehensible, that physicians sometimes behave in a very callous manner toward parents who question the need for certain vaccines. Federal policy of mandating vaccines marks a profound change in the concept of public health. Traditionally, public health authorities restricted the liberties of individuals only in case of a clear and present danger to public health. For example, individuals infected with a transmissible disease were quarantined. Today, a child may be prevented from attending school or associating with others, simply because of being unimmunized. If there is not an outbreak of disease and if the child is uninfected, his or her unimmunized state is not a threat to anyone. An abridgement of civil rights in such cases cannot be justified.
With hepatitis B vaccine, the case for mandatory immunization with few exemptions is far less persuasive than with smallpox or polio vaccines, which protected against highly lethal or disabling, relatively common, and easily transmissible diseases. An intelligent and conscientious physician might well recommend AGAINST hepatitis B vaccine, especially in newborns, unless a baby is at unusual risk because of an infected mother or household contact or membership in a population in which disease is common.
AAPS awaits the release of full information concerning the licensure of hepatitis B vaccine and the mandate for newborn immunizations, as requested under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Vaccine Information Center. It is imperative that independent scientists have the opportunity to review the raw data. In the meantime, all coercive means for increasing the immunization rate should be immediately discontinued. Fully informed consent should be sought before vaccine is administered. This requires full and honest disclosure of the risks and uncertainties of the vaccine, in comparison with the risks of the disease.
Information given to parents about this vaccine often does not meet the requirement for full disclosure. For example, it may state "getting the disease is far more likely to cause serious illness than getting the vaccine." This may be literally true, but it is seriously misleading if the risk of getting the disease is nearly zero (as is true for most American newborns). It may also be legalistically true that "no serious reactions have been known to occur due to the hepatitis B recombinant vaccine." However, relevant studies have not been done to investigate whether the temporal association of vaccine with serious side effects is purely coincidental or not.
An independent review of the VAERS data; publications by governmental, pro-vaccine, and anti-vaccine groups; and a sample of the medical literature lead to the following conclusions:
For most children, the risk of a serious vaccine reaction may be 100 times greater than the risk of hepatitis B. Overall, the incidence of hepatitis B in the U.S. is currently about 4 per 100,000. The risk for most young children is far less; hepatitis B is heavily concentrated in groups at high risk due to occupation, sexual promiscuity, or drug abuse. VAERS contains 25,000 reports related to hepatitis B vaccine, about one-third of which were serious enough to lead to an emergency room visit, hospitalization, or death. It is often assumed that only 10% of reactions are reported. (This committee has heard testimony about persons being actively discouraged from reporting, even if they are aware of the reporting system.) Thus, if there have been some 80,000 serious adverse reactions associated with 20 million doses of vaccine, the risk is about 4 in 1000. (This calculation depends on many assumptions. Moreover, many of the patients experiencing temporally associated adverse reactions had simultaneously received more than one vaccine. Nevertheless, a better estimate has not been put forth.) It should be noted that a less than 1 in 1,000,000 purely hypothetical risk might be used to justify costly federal regulations on highly useful products that are used voluntarily.
In nearly 20% of VAERS reports, the first of eight listed side effects suggests central nervous system involvement. Examining the first listed effects shows about 4,600 involving such symptoms as prolonged screaming, agitation, apnea, ataxia, visual disturbances, convulsions, tremors, twitches, an abnormal cry, hypotonia, hypertonia, abnormal sensations, stupor, somnolence, neck rigidity, paralysis, confusion, and oculogyric crisis. The last is a striking feature of post-encephalitic Parkinson's disease, or it may occur as a dystonic reaction to certain drugs such as phenothiazines. The CDC admits that the results of ongoing studies on a potential association of hepatitis B vaccine and demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis are not yet available.
There may be large genetic differences in susceptibility to vaccine adverse effects. The committee has been told that serious reported adverse effects seem restricted to Caucasians. Yet the oft-cited long-term safety study was conducted in Alaskan natives, and many studies involved Asians. In adults, 77% of the reactions involve women, who are generally more susceptible to autoimmune diseases. This deserves serious study, not off-hand dismissal ("nurses always over-report"). Universal immunization could lead to disproportionate injury to susceptible populations, who might also be the least affected by the disease one is trying to prevent.
Striking increases in chronic illnesses have occurred in temporal association with an increase in vaccination rates. Asthma and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, causes of lifelong morbidity and frequent premature death, have nearly doubled in incidence since the introduction of many new, mandatory vaccines. There is no explanation for this increase. The temporal association, although not probative, is suggestive and demands intense investigation. Instead of following up on earlier, foreign studies suggesting a greater-than-chance association, the CDC, through vaccine mandates, is obliterating the control group (unvaccinated children). Dr. Classen testified concerning his opinion that hepatitis B vaccine could precipitate diabetes mellitus. Of note, VAERS contains more than 4,000 reports of abdominal symptoms that could have been due to pancreatitis, which was probably not specifically sought and thus missed if present.
Even more alarming is the huge increase in reports of autism and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, with devastating, life-long impacts (emphasis added). Much of this could be due to overdiagnosis (now rewarded by numerous government subsidies). Measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, and the whole panoply of childhood diseases are a far less serious threat than having a large fraction (say 10%) of a generation afflicted with learning disability and/or uncontrollable aggressive behavior because of an impassioned crusade for universal vaccination. There are plausible mechanisms such as molecular mimicry whereby vaccines could have such effects. Basic research, as well as epidemiologic studies (starting with a long-term follow-up of reactions reported to VAERS), is urgent.
Hepatitis B vaccine as a cause of sudden infant death has not been ruled out. The mere observation that the incidence of SIDS has decreased while hepatitis B immunization rates have increased proves nothing whatsoever. In other contexts, the Back to Sleep campaign is credited with a dramatic fall in SIDS; the fall might have been much greater without hepatitis B immunizations. The presence of findings such as brain edema in healthy infants who die very soon after receiving hepatitis B vaccine is profoundly disturbing, especially in view of the frequency of neurologic symptoms in the VAERS. Does SIDS occur on the day after hepatitis B vaccine with a greater-than-expected frequency? Does it occur at a younger-than-expected age? Are the autopsy findings different in babies who just received the vaccine? The fact that vaccine just happens to be given during the time period that babies are most likely to die of SIDS complicates the analysis. Also, there are a number of other confounding variables (sleep position, socioeconomic status, and possibly smoking behavior). The data in VAERS are probably too incomplete to answer the questions. A very detailed statistical analysis and an aggressive attempt to obtain more complete information are urgently needed. Glib reassurance, based on the secular trends shown to this Committee, is dangerous.
Public policy regarding vaccines is fundamentally flawed. It is permeated by conflicts of interest. It is based on poor scientific methodology (including studies that are too small, too short, and too limited in populations represented), which is, moreover, insulated from independent criticism. The evidence is far too poor to warrant overriding the independent judgments of patients, parents, and attending physicians, even if this were ethically or legally acceptable.
AAPS opposes federal mandates for vaccines, on principle, on the grounds that they are:
1. An unconstitutional expansion of the power of the federal government.
2. An unconstitutional delegation of power to a public-private partnership.
3. An unconstitutional and destructive intrusion into the patient-physician and parent-child relationships.
4. A violation of the Nuremberg Code in that they force individuals to have medical treatment against their will, or to participate in the functional equivalent of a vast experiment without fully informed consent.
5. A violation of rights to free speech and to the practice of one's religion (which may require one to keep oaths).
AAPS would specifically oppose the campaign for universal immunization against hepatitis B, even if the above did not apply, because the safety of the vaccine is in question.
COMMENT: Last January I had the great honor of spending several days in Mexico with Dr. Orient visiting a clinic there. She is an incredible woman who is a tireless fighter against the evils of the spread of socialism in our country. If you are a physician, I would strongly encourage you to join the AAPS. You can contact them at www.aapsonline.org. You may not know that it was their lawsuit that nearly single handedly prevented Hilary Clinton from implementing her takeover of American medicine. We owe a great deal to Dr. Orient and the least we can do is support her organizationís efforts to maintain freedom in medicine. Her comments on hepatitis B are an articulate summary of the major dilemma that medicine has gotten into with their endorsement of this dangerous immunization.
CLONING FROM A 'HEALTH' STANDPOINT
(Religious Viewpoints are on the Prevous Linked Page)
IT ISN'T AS EASY AS IT APPEARS
CLONING NOAH'S ARK (Click on this link to see the steps it takes to clone an embro)
A Gaur Is Born
It is a deceptively simple-looking process. A needle jabs through the protective layer, or zona pellucida, surrounding an egg that hours ago resided in a living ovary. In one deft movement, a research assistant uses it to suck out the egg's nucleus--which contains the majority of a cell's genetic material--leaving behind only a sac of gel called cytoplasm. Next he uses a second needle to inject another, whole cell under the egg's outer layer. With the flip of an electric switch, the cloning is complete: the electrical pulse fuses the introduced cell to the egg, and the early embryo begins to divide. In a few days, it will become a mass of cells large enough to implant into the uterus of a surrogate-mother animal previously treated with hormones. In a matter of months, that surrogate mother will give birth to a clone.
In practice, though, this technique--which scientists call nuclear transfer-- is not so easy. To create Noah, we at Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) in Worcester, Mass., had to fuse skin cells taken from a male gaur with 692 enucleated cow eggs. As we report in the current issue of the journal Cloning, of those 692 cloned early embryos, only 81 grew in the laboratory into blastocysts, balls of 100 or so cells that are sufficiently developed to implant for gestation. We ended up inserting 42 blastocysts into 32 cows, but only eight became pregnant. We removed the fetuses from two of the pregnant cows for scientific analysis; four other animals experienced spontaneous abortions in the second or third month of the usual nine-month pregnancy; and the seventh cow had a very unexpected late-term spontaneous abortion in August.
The statistics of the efficiency of cloning reflect the fact that the technology is still as much an art as it is a science -- particularly when it involves transplanting an embryo into another species. Scientists, including those of us at ACT, have had the highest success rates cloning domestic cattle implanted into cows of the same species. But even in this instance we have had to work hard to produce just a few animals. For every 100 cow eggs we fuse with adult cattle cells, we can expect only between 15 and 20 to produce blastocysts. And only roughly 10 percent of those--one or two--yield live births.
The numbers reflect difficulties with the nuclear transfer process itself, which we are now working to understand. They are also a function of the vagaries of assisted reproduction technology.
Accordingly, we expect that the first few endangered species to be cloned will be those whose reproduction has already been well studied. Several zoos and conservation societies--including the Audubon Institute Center for Research of Endangered Species (AICRES) in New Orleans, which is led by one of us (Dresser)--have probed the reproductive biology of a range of endangered species, with some notable successes. Last November, for example, Dresser and her colleagues reported the first transplantation of a previously frozen embryo of an endangered animal into another species that resulted in a live birth. In this case, an ordinary house cat gave birth to an African wildcat, a species that has declined in some areas.
Irrespective of whether it would be desirable, there is considerable doubt about whether it would even be possible to clone humans using the techniques used to produce Dolly the sheep. The nuclear replacement technology used to produce Dolly is still in its early stages. We do not yet know whether the work which created Dolly is repeatable in animals, nor is it known whether it can be replicated in humans. We should bear in mind that Dolly was the only normal lamb born from 276 similar attempts. Only 29 resulted in implantable embryos, all of which, except the one leading to Dolly, resulted in defective pregnancies or grossly malformed births. Similar procedures aimed at human cloned reproduction might be associated with similar wastage rates and uncertainties about malformations. The age of Dollys DNA may be the same as the original sheep, of which she is a clone. She may have a shortened life-span or a greater susceptibility to cancer. Even though she appears to be fertile, her progeny may show an increased abnormality rate, owing to the accumulation of damage to the DNA. This raises safety issues about the development of nuclear replacement for therapeutic purposes. Any attempt to develop this technology in humans would be expensive and would require a large amount of human experimentation. Do these considerations make experimentation in humans involving the implantation of cloned embryos ethically unacceptable? How does this case differ from the experiments that first led to successful in vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedures?
|THE ETHICS OF CLONING PEOPLE
There are a number of situations where it has been suggested that cloning technology could be applied to make a copy of another human being. None of the activities suggested in these scenarios are permitted in the UK. Such scenarios envisage single or multiple copies of a living or dead fetus, baby, child or adult. For example:
1. Parents might wish to replace an aborted fetus, dead baby or child killed in an accident. A grieving woman whose husband and daughter have been killed in the same car crash, may wish to use the DNA from one of her daughters cells and insert it into an egg supplied by another woman. The child born would be a clone of her dead daughter. However, the mother would not be getting back the same child that had died.
2. In the case of a child dying of kidney failure and where neither parent can donate a compatible organ, parents might wish to have a further sibling, produced by cloning, to be a compatible organ donor, as this would avoid a rejection reaction. One of this child's kidneys might then be transplanted to save the life of their older sibling.
3. An individual might seek to use cloning technology in an attempt, as that individual might see it, to cheat death.
Much of the debate about cloning in the popular media has been based on the mistaken premise that a human clone would be an exact replica of the original person (the nucleus donor). The technique used to create Dolly does not result in the clone and the nucleus donor having exactly the same genetic make-up (see below). But, even if they were genetically identical, the idea that the clone would be a 'copy' or 'replica' of the nucleus donor is based on extreme genetic determinism. The clone and the nucleus donor would not be identical people. Personality, character and behaviour are not determined by genetic factors alone but by a complex interaction of genetic, social, political, historic and environmental factors. Experience of monozygotic twins (which can be considered as naturally occurring clones) is sufficient to illustrate that genetic identity is not the same as personal identity.
Another common misperception is that the clone would be the same age as the nucleus donor so that if the person to be cloned was an adult, the clone would appear as an adult. Although the clone, or clones, would have the same nuclear DNA as the nucleus donor, he or she would begin as an embryo, develop into a fetus , a baby and years later, an adult (Some questions have been raised, however, about whether Dolly's genetic age is the same as her chronological age or whether it is the same as the sheep whose nuclear DNA was used). The time difference between the birth and upbringing of the nucleus donor and those of his or her clones, and the inevitable differences in factors such as womb-environment, mother's diet, social, political and economic circumstances, will undoubtedly increase the differences between the individuals (If more than one clone is produced from an adult or child, the clones will be the same age as each other but will not be the same age as the nucleus donor).
Motives for using cell-nuclear replacement
A variety of reasons have been suggested as to why an individual may wish to create a clone of him or herself, or of another person, some of which are more likely to succeed than others. As discussed above, some are based on a mistaken belief that the clone would be an exact replica of the nucleus donor. Individuals, for example, who wish to use the technique to 'cheat death' or in a search for immortality are bound to be disappointed. The child will be a different person, born at a different time and into a different social, political and economic environment, with different choices and life-chances. Although the clone may look very similar to how the nucleus donor did at the same age, the clone will be an individual with his or her own thoughts, wishes and personality. For the same reasons, those who wish to use the technology to perpetuate outstanding talent, or to 're-create' others, alive or dead, will not succeed. Personality traits and abilities are only partially genetically determined, and even if an individual has innate talent, he or she may choose not to use it either because of different preferences or priorities, or in a deliberate attempt to be 'different' from the nucleus donor. The more science-fiction type scenarios of an egocentric dictator attempting to develop an army of clones for military purposes, are fanciful for a variety of reasons, not least because of the vast number of women who would be needed to carry the children (until some alternative method of gestation is found).
An often quoted example of a potential beneficial use of human reproductive cloning is to provide a perfectly-matched tissue or organ donor in order to save a life. It is well-known that in desperate situations where there is no compatible donor for a dying child, parents will sometimes conceive another child in the hope that he or she will be compatible as a donor. The use of cell-nuclear replacement, using the sick child as the cell donor, would avoid this lottery by ensuring that the sibling would have identical nuclear DNA and would be a perfect match.
Some people may wish to use cell-nuclear replacement in an attempt to create a 'replacement' for a dead or dying child. A range of variations on this theme have been suggested. The US National Bioethics Advisory Commission (National Bioethics Advisory Commission, Cloning human Beings, Report and Recommendations of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, June 1997), for example, considered the scenario of a family involved in a terrible accident in which the father is killed and the only child is dying. The mother wishes to use some of the cells from the dying infant for cell nuclear replacement as her only chance to have a child biologically related to her late husband. In this case, the motivation is to have her husband's child, not to have a child who is genetically identical to another person. Does this make the motive more acceptable? Similarly, an infertile couple where the man has no sperm may opt for cell-nuclear replacement, using a cell from the husband, in order to have a child genetically related to both of them (nuclear DNA from the father and mitochondrial DNA from the mother), as an alternative to donor insemination. The primary aim is to have a child, not to create a genetic copy of the father, although the outcome is the same. A couple who are both carriers of a serious genetic disorder and wish to avoid the birth of an affected child, may prefer to use cell-nuclear replacement to clone one of them, rather than the alternatives of prenatal diagnosis or donated gametes. The efficiency of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) might be greatly increased by using the 8 nuclei from an 8-cell IVF embryo to make 8 separate embryos by cell nuclear replacement.
Are any or all of these motives acceptable? Does it make a difference whether the aim is to bring into existence a genetically identical individual, or simply to have a child who may, incidentally be genetically identical? Is it relevant whether reproductive cloning is to be used to overcome some pathology, such as to avoid a genetic disorder, to provide a compatible organ or tissue for donation or to overcome infertility? Or is creating an individual with the same genetic identity as another existing person unacceptable, regardless of the circumstances and motives of those concerned?
One of the most compelling arguments against using cell nuclear replacement for human reproductive cloning is the evidence, from animal work, that the techniques are hazardous and inefficient (Evidence from animal work indicates a high incidence of malformations, stillbirths and postnatal deaths. Dolly the sheep was the only successful outcome of 277 attempts). Until these matters are resolved, the risks are likely to outweigh any potential benefits, but whilst this may be sufficient to justify a temporary moratorium on the use of the technique, this paper assumes that the time will come when these issues of safety have been resolved.
Would there then be compelling arguments to prohibit or restrict the use of reproductive cloning?
Rights of the child
Opponents of cell nuclear replacement focus primarily on concerns about the welfare of the resulting child. Even if it were possible to ascertain that the procedure could be used without physical harm to the embryo, fetus or child, concerns remain about the likely psychological effect on the child of being conceived in this way. One aspect of this is the child's possible loss of a sense of uniqueness, individuality and personal autonomy although appeals to a child's 'right to a unique genetic identity' have been roundly rejected as meaningless. Rights are either liberties - such as a right to walk along the road whistling - or claims against specific people, who would have a correlative duty to observe the right - for example, a right against a person to have a loan repaid. How one would enforce a claim to an individual genetic identity is unclear unless it consisted in an absolute right to prevent others coming into being with the same genetic constitution (this would present particular problems with the case of naturally occurring monozygotic twins).
More important than genetic identity is personal identity which consists of personality, character, temperament and life-style. If there is a right in this context (a liberty) it is a right to be allowed to develop one's own identity. This is where individuals cloned by cell nuclear replacement are fundamentally different from monozygotic twins. Monozygotic twins begin life simultaneously with an equal lack of knowledge about what the future holds. For a 'delayed twin' cloned from an existing person, it may seem 'that one's life has already been lived and played out by another, that one's fate is already determined, and so the later twin will lose the spontaneity of authentically creating and becoming his or her own self" (National Bioethics Advisory Commission, 1997, Ibid). It is feared that this perception will be compounded by the parents' expectations of the way the child will develop, particularly if the primary motivation for using cloning was to replicate an existing person. But parents often have high expectations for their children and many children grow up in the shadow of an older successful sibling. To what extent does the child's genetic make-up increase the parents' expectations or make it more difficult for the child to resist such pressures?
Issues of identity also potentially arise from the confused genetic heritage of a child born in this way. A woman, carrying a child derived from cell nuclear replacement using one of her own cells, would give birth to her sister, rather than her daughter. Although it is sometimes argued that, in this situation, the child would have no genetic father - the woman's own father would also be the father of the child. It has been argued that this provides a less than ideal environment for a child's development. But evidence from children born in other 'unusual' family arrangements does not show that these children are necessarily harmed in any way by their experiences (See, for example, Golombok S, Brewaeys A, Cook R, Giavazzi MT, Guerra D, Mantovani A, van Hall E, Crosignani PG, Dexeus S. The European study of assisted reproduction families: family functioning and child development, Human Reproduction, 1996, 11(10) pp.2324-31 and Brewaeys A, Ponjaert I, van Hall EV, Golombok S. Donor insemination: child development and family functioning in lesbian mother families, Human Reproduction, 1997, 12(6) pp.1349-59). The first few children born in this way would inevitably be the subject of intense interest and curiosity but is this so different from the first few children born following in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or the first recipient of a donated organ?
Undermining human dignity
Some people oppose human reproductive cloning because they believe that a child born following cell nuclear replacement is being treated as an object and is being used to achieve some benefit for another person. This argument is based broadly on an interpretation of Kant's categorical imperative - that we must never treat each other merely as means to an end but always as ends in themselves. This argument is most clearly illustrated by the example of a child who is born in order to be a compatible organ or tissue donor for another person. It is said that the child is being used as an object, as a means to someone else's end. But do people always have children for the sake of the child itself or because they consider there to be a need for another child in the world? In reality, the reason why most people have children is more to do with their own wishes and desires than the child's. Furthermore, it is not unusual for individuals to use each other as a means to an end - indeed it is considered desirable that we should help each other - but we do not treat others merely as a tool for achieving a set objective. If the child were to be abandoned once the donation had taken place, he or she would have been treated merely as a means, and this would be rightly condemned, but the child will undoubtedly be loved and respected for him or herself and, perhaps even more so for having saved the life of his or her sibling (Gillon R. Human reproductive cloning - a look at the arguments against it and a rejection of most of them, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1992, 92 pp. 3-12).
Many people's opposition to reproductive cloning is not clearly articulated but rather is based on a 'gut reaction' that it is wrong, horrible, disgusting or is, in some way, an affront to human dignity. Whilst intuitive reactions cannot and should not easily be dismissed it would also be wrong always to rely upon such reactions as necessarily reflecting an appropriate moral stance. Gillon points out that moral gut responses may be morally admirable but they may also be morally wrong, even morally atrocious. Without moral reflection, these gut feelings provide no way of distinguishing between those which are right and those which are wrong. He concludes therefore that "we need to reflect on and educate our moral feelings so as to select and develop the good ones, and deter and modify or preferably abolish the bad ones" (Gillon, R. 1992, Ibid). Similarly, the fact that something is 'unnatural' does not mean that it is necessarily wrong or bad. Many bad things happen naturally and many things which are unnatural are nonetheless beneficial - including many forms of medical treatment. Whilst these feelings are understandable they need to be treated with some caution and, where appropriate, should give way to moral reasoning.
Reports and surveys of public opinion show clear opposition to human reproductive cloning. Some of the early reports on IVF and organ transplantation were also negative, combining awe at what was possible with fear about where it would all end. This comparison helps to illustrate, not only the common and intuitive nature of fear of new developments but also, the way in which public opinion shifts such that many things which were considered unnatural and objectionable gradually become accepted as routine. Is opposition to reproductive cloning by cell-nuclear replacement any more than an illogical and transient fear of new technology?
Freedom of choice
Whenever any new or innovative treatment or procedure is proposed, the question facing society is whether the onus should be on those who would permit the technique to justify its use or whether the onus is on those who would prohibit it to justify a prohibition. In other words, should it be permitted until there is overriding evidence of harm or should it be prohibited until there is overriding evidence of benefit? At the present time there is overwhelming evidence, from animal work, that the techniques used for cell nuclear replacement are both hazardous and inefficient. But, assuming a time when these problems have been resolved, those who argue in favour of reproductive cloning claim that the arguments against its use are based on 'gut reaction' and prejudice and that no compelling reasons have been presented to justify a ban. Claiming a right to 'procreative autonomy' (defined as "a right to control their own role in procreation unless the state has a compelling reason for denying them that control" (Dworkin R, Life's dominion,1993, as quoted in Harris J, 'Goodbye Dolly?' The ethics of human cloning, Journal of Medical Ethics, 1997, 23, pp. 353-360) it is argued that there is insufficient evidence of harm to justify interfering with an individual's freedom to choose. If the use of reproductive cloning were to violate the rights of others or threaten society there would be grounds for restricting procreative autonomy but, some argue, such evidence has not been forthcoming (Harris J,1997, Ibid)
Balancing benefit and harm
Comparing benefits and harms can often help to resolve such ethical dilemmas but, with reproductive cloning, both the benefits and harms are more theoretical than real. There may be psychological harms to the resulting children or problems of identity but we simply do not know; whether the risk of such harms is worth taking may depend upon what else is at stake. Where the use of reproductive cloning could save the life of another child, by providing a compatible organ or tissue for donation, the risk of harm would arguably need to be very high to deny the sick child the opportunity of a cure. It is not unusual for young children to be exposed to procedures which have known risks, including bone-marrow transplants, in order to save the life of a sick sibling. Where the benefit is less clear, such as where an individual simply wishes to have a child in his or her own image, the evidence of harms required to warrant obstructing this aim may be lower. It could be argued then, that motive is a critical factor in assessing the balance of risks and benefits of reproductive cloning but so too is the harm of exposing children to unknown and, therefore, unquantifiable risks.
Reproductive cloning by embryo splitting
Another type of reproductive cloning, which has been proposed, is the splitting of an in vitro embryo, at an early stage of development, to deliberately produce identical twins. It has been suggested that this technique could have benefits for those undergoing fertility treatment where only one embryo is available for transfer, by splitting the embryo into two thereby, theoretically, increasing the chance of a successful pregnancy. There are, however, very serious doubts, based on experience from animals, about whether this technique is ever likely to be a realistic option. Although the success rates for IVF are consistently higher when two embryos are replaced rather than one (See, for example, Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, Sixth Annual Report, 1997 p.14 and Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, Fifth Annual Report, 1996 p.33), this may be linked to the quality of the embryos rather than the number replaced. Arguably, splitting, even a good quality, embryo into two will not increase the chance of pregnancy because it will result in two poor quality embryos which are unlikely to implant. If these problems can be overcome and it proves possible to produce good quality embryos by embryo splitting, would there be strong arguments for prohibiting this form of reproductive cloning?
Unlike children born following cell nuclear replacement, those born following embryo splitting would be genetically identical, sharing both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. They would also share the same womb-environment and be born into the same social, political and economic circumstances and, for these reasons, should be far more alike than 'delayed twins'. Many of the psychological harms predicted for children born following cell nuclear replacement, which are discussed above, would not arise with embryo splitting because although the children would share their genetic make-up with each other they would not share it with any other existing, or previously existing person. They are each, therefore, free to develop their own personality, in the same way as naturally occurring monozygotic twins, with no more than the usual parental expectations and pressures. The children would not have a confused genetic heritage - the woman who carried them would be their mother not their sister - and the parents' motive for having them would be no different from any other parents' motives for having children. Furthermore, if motive is important, the intention with embryo splitting is not to create genetically identical individuals but to increase the chance of a successful pregnancy.
The differences between children born following embryo splitting and naturally occurring monozygotic twins would be few. One obvious difference is the artificial nature of the twinning but this is arguably no more likely to be a problem than for other children born following IVF treatment where medicine mimics nature. The other difference is the potential for only one of the embryos to be replaced with the other stored for use in the future. If the stored embryo is replaced some time later, the result would be a 'delayed twin' with the potential for the same psychological harms predicted following cell nuclear replacement. Media reports have focussed on the possibility of one of the embryos being stored indefinitely as a 'perfect replacement' in case of the sibling's death or as a source of 'spare parts' in case of future illness. Although such a scenario is unlikely, it could be guarded against by, for example, restricting the use of embryo splitting to those women who need fertility treatment, for whom only one embryo is available, limiting the splitting of the embryo into two and requiring that both embryos are replaced in the same treatment cycle. For those countries which have a licensing or monitoring body for IVF, such restriction can be imposed on those providing the treatment services. Even in countries without regulation, many practitioners are, nonetheless, willing to follow established good practice guidelines and limit their practice accordingly. It is questionable whether those who would not adhere to restrictions on their practice would be any more likely to adhere to a complete prohibition on embryo splitting.
Reproductive cloning by embryo splitting, with appropriate regulation, does not raise the same problems predicted with cell nuclear replacement and may be considered less problematic from an ethical perspective. But, the potential benefits would apply to a very small number of people. Are the potential benefits sufficient to outweigh the harms, including the possible damage to public confidence, of crossing the currently accepted moral boundary, by permitting any form of reproductive cloning?
|Cloned mice show no premature aging after several generations
September 20, 2000
(AP) -- The cells of cloned mice show no signs of premature aging despite being copied through six generations, according to a new study. In fact, some of the cells showed signs of getting younger.
The study published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature contradicts a 1999 study of Dolly the cloned sheep that showed the protective tips of her chromosomes, known as telomeres, were showing signs of early wear and tear because they were copied from genetic material that was 6 years old.
Many questions surround how telomeres behave in the cells of cloned animals. Not only might cloned animals die prematurely, but healthy cloned cells created as medical treatments might die off before they can fight disease.
Cells can divide a certain number of times before they die -- about 70 times for humans and fewer for other mammals. Every time a cell divides, the telomere is whittled down, but the genetic material remains intact. Eventually the telomere is too short to protect the genes and the cell soon dies.
The mouse study conducted at the University of Hawaii and Rockefeller University in New York cloned six successive generations of mice in a row. Researchers said the telomeres of some mice were longer than expected, even in mice that lived for more than one year.
"Our results verify that telomere shortening is not a necessary outcome of the cloning process," said the study's lead researcher, Teruhiko Wakayama.
Wakayama said he could not explain why the cloned mice had long telomeres.
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
|Texas bull cloned for disease resistance
December 19, 2000
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (Reuters) -- Researchers at Texas A&M University showed off a black baby bull on Monday that they said was the first ever cloned to capture the original animal's unusual ability to resist disease.
The month-old calf named 86 Squared offered the promise of providing the world with disease-free cattle, the scientists said.
"The impact of cloning disease-resistant cattle is potentially monumental. This research will benefit ranchers in many countries who cannot afford to vaccinate or test their herds," said geneticist Joe Templeton.
The 3-foot-tall calf was produced from genetic material taken 15 years ago from a six-year-old bull named 86, who had been found to be naturally resistant to three infectious diseases -- brucellosis, tuberculosis and salmonellosis.
Scientists will begin testing the cells of 86 Squared next month to determine whether he also has the disease resistance, but researcher Mark Westhusin said he has all the genetic markings of 86.
"We're pretty confident he's also resistant," he said at a news conference on the Texas A&M campus 80 miles (128 km) northwest of Houston.
Should that be the case, researchers will begin cloning 86 Squared and breeding him with cows to see if the disease-resistant genes can be passed on, Templeton said.
"We'll clone him so we'll have clones of clones," he said.
The goal of the research would be to create disease-free cattle, which would make cattle-raising more efficient and provide more beef for the world.
But Westhusin said it was also important that 86 Squared was produced from cells frozen for 15 years. That was thought to be the longest-preserved genetic material ever used in a successful cloning and could open up new possibilities for cloning animals who died many years ago, but for whom cells had been preserved, he said.
"Who knows how many people have genetic material from extremely valuable animals that might now be cloned?" Westhusin asked.
The cloning of 86 Squared was done at the same Texas A&M facility where last year scientists produced a calf from the cells of a 21-year-old bull, the oldest animal ever cloned.
They also are working on the $2.3 million Missyplicity Project, funded by a California couple to clone their deceased dog. Westhusin said the dog had not yet been reproduced because dogs were proving difficult to clone.
Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved.
|Making a production over reproductions
February 5, 2001
by Jeffrey P. Kahn, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Director, Center for Bioethics - University of Minnesota
Before we can clone human beings we need two things: people who want to be cloned, and someone with enough expertise to do it. Assisted reproduction specialists have been saying for years that the techniques to clone humans are available, and that it is just a matter of time until someone tries. Dr. Panos Zavos, a reproductive physiology specialist from the University of Kentucky, made a big news splash last week when he announced that he and an international group of colleagues are making plans to start cloning humans in a clinic at an undisclosed location. So far, all they have cloned is headlines (lots of them), but they may have the know-how and the patients to be successful, so why limit their efforts and their patients' desires?
Not in my (funding) backyard
The federal government has made it clear that human cloning research cannot use taxpayer dollars, and in practice that extends even to privately funded efforts that take place at institutions receiving federal support. But the reach of the federal government so far only extends to funding restrictions, and after the announcement that Dolly the sheep had been cloned, Congress considered but did not act on legislation that would have made cloning illegal in the United States. Most scientists agree that even without the ethical concerns raised by cloning, it still carries far too many unknowns to be safe to try on humans.
Unsafe at any price
There is too little experience with cloning in the animal world to know whether clones develop differently, age at a different rate or are more or less susceptible to illness or disease. If even the basic risks of cloning are unknown, how can we allow it to be used on humans? This presumes that scientists can find enough human eggs to try. If experience with animal cloning is any indication, it will take hundreds of trials to get even one cloned embryo to develop. As anyone who has gone through infertility treatments can attest, individual women can donate only a few eggs at a time and egg donors are difficult and expensive to recruit. Given the existing shortage of egg donors, it doesn't make sense to waste a very precious resource on mostly unsuccessful and risky efforts to clone. At least not until techniques have been improved, even in animals.
Not exactly as advertised
Why do people want to use cloning at all? There seem to be some sincere reasons, such as helping otherwise infertile couples or cloning a child who has died. But prospective patients may not get what they expect. Even if a clone amounts to creating a genetic twin, it's likely that clones would be different because of differences in their environment -- everything from the womb, to the nutrition and culture in which they develop.
Managing the 'yuck' factor
At the end of any analysis, much of our negative reaction to cloning falls under the fuzzy category of the 'yuck factor'. Cloning is odd for the fundamental weirdness it represents -- giving birth to and raising your identical twin 30 years after you're born. But its yuckiness says less about cloning itself than about those who want to do it. There seem to be precious few motivations that are not either seriously misguided by prospective parents or seriously risky for the cloned child. Given our hesitation when it comes to restricting reproductive rights, how can we prevent wrong motivations without banning the entire technology?
The problem is that it is notoriously difficult to either assess or police motivation. So if we can't control people's actions we have to try and control access to the technology itself. The trick will be trying to do that in a way that respects parents' rights while protecting the children they create.
THE RAELIAN EFFORTS
Race for a double
A maverick cult leader and a team of top-notch scientists compete to clone the world's first human. What will be the consequences of their success?
The guru wants to play God. That was the chorus from critics when the 54-year-old sportswriter-turned-leader of the Raelians sect unveiled his plans for a genetic leap forward. They reacted with disdain when he set up Clonaid, the world's first company to clone a human, soon after the birth of Dolly, the world's first cloned sheep, in 1996. Things have changed since then and the disdain has been replaced by part-disbelief, part-dread.
More so after an American couple approached Clonaid last year with the preserved skin cells of their 10-month-old son who didn't survive heart surgery. Rael's scientists accepted the challenge, and the $500,000 that the couple offered for a cloned child. Boasting the best equipment, geneticists and fertility experts-and now loaded with cash-Rael is moving towards his goal.
Unless Dr. Panayiotis Zavos delivers first. The Cyprus-born, Kentucky-based doctor has teamed up with Italian fertility specialist Dr Severino Antinori in an international project to clone the first human. Zavos and Antinori, who grabbed headlines six years ago when he helped a 62-year-old Italian give birth, have the same objective as Rael: devising a new technique to help infertile couples have children.
The speed with which the cloners are making progress would have surprised Hans Spemann. Ninety-nine years ago, the German embryologist gingerly extended a sliver of hair from the head of his infant son to splice two cells of a salamander embryo. To his astonishment, the separated cells grew into two robust salamanders. Spemann's was one of the earliest attempts to prove that every living cell of an animal is loaded with the genetic map for the entire creature. It took another nine decades for Dolly to arrive, then Cumulina the cloned mouse, and Starbuck II the cloned prize bull. A few piglets and some calves followed. Suddenly, it appeared that Aldous Huxley's Brave New World was unfolding before our eyes.
The only missing characters from the cloning cast were humans. Now Rael, Zavos and Co. promise to people the New Age Noah's Ark. "Our project is making progress every day," Zavos told The Week. His international consortium will apply "the human therapeutic cloning technology only for reproductive purposes to help those who have exhausted every possible avenue in having their own biological child."
Five years ago such talk would have tickled the critics. After Dolly, the chuckles have been quieted by the refrain that someone is bound to clone a human sooner than later. With every breakthrough since Dolly, researchers have polished the craft of being copycats. So much so that the technology isn't any great shakes today. Everyone knows that cloning involves the creation of a genetic twin from a single cell-such as a skin cell-from an adult. The way Scottish scientist Dr Ian Wilmut went about cloning Dolly was pretty straightforward: the DNA-containing nucleus from the cell of an adult sheep was transferred to a donor egg whose nucleus had been removed. The two were fused with an electrical jolt, activating the growth of the embryo which was then transferred to a surrogate mother's womb to develop. Scientists believe that the process to clone a human will be more or less the same.
Sometimes cloning occurs without any electrical jolt-as in the case of twins-with only the parents receiving a jolt at the double whammy! "Initially there is one egg, but suddenly it bifurcates and they grow into two babies. It does happen naturally," says Hinduja. "Thus cloning a human is quite possible."
Not just possible, says Zavos, but it is "inevitable that human cloning will be done by someone." He argues that it will be better if the procedure is handled by a group like his which will "develop this technology in the most responsible way".
Maybe that's a dig at his competitor in Quebec, but the maverick cult leader nursing a new-born religion could just be ahead in the race. In February, Clonaid's scientific director Dr Brigitte Boisselier revealed her team had started work on human eggs and was practising the technique of enucleation or the removal of the nucleus. Next, they would practise the process of transferring the nucleus of a cell into the enucleated cell. If things went as expected, they would have begun work on the preserved cells of the dead child by early April. Add the gestation period and you know when to expect the results.
The only obstacle seems to be the large number of failed pregnancies during the cloning process. Dolly came after 277 attempts at fusing the donor egg in the womb of the surrogate ewe; Starbuck II was born after 68 tries. Indeed, the cloners will have to make hundreds of attempts to create an embryo and also to implant it successfully. And, most surrogate mothers with bulging bellies face the certainty of an abortion because of defects in the embryo or the placenta.
The numbers game will challenge the cloners, who know that the higher the availability of donor eggs and surrogate wombs, the greater their chances of success. On this score, the Raelians don't have a worry: 50 women followers volunteered to become surrogate mothers. The advantage of such large numbers is that even if one pregnancy is aborted, the experiment will continue through other surrogate mothers instead of having to wait for the woman's next cycle.
Rael promises'Eternal life for all'
Last year a couple paid $500,000 to your company to clone their child. What is the progress?
We are currently working on this project and hope to have a pregnancy real soon.
What are the chances of success in cloning a human?
Today the success rate of mammal cloning is reaching levels of 15 per cent. We know less about mammal reproduction than we do about human reproduction. Our knowledge on human reproduction, thanks to IVF, is such that we are very confident on the outcome of this research.
Your critics say that your project is unethical.
They are wrong. Ethical is only a word to hide superstitions and taboos.
Prof. Ian Wilmut says human cloning will be "absolutely criminal".
What is criminal is to deny the right to scientists to work on projects [like these], the right to individuals to choose the way they want to reproduce, the right for the future to be born.
Do you have the expertise to clone?
Our scientists are well-trained biologists and physicians.
Your critics say that your project is not legal.
It is perfectly legal to do these researches in the US. If it becomes illegal, we will ask the US Supreme Court whether they want to deny the right of reproduction choice to the hundreds of couples who have requested our services. I doubt they will. In any event, we will always respect the laws of the country in which we are located.
Will there be any development problems in a cloned child?
None. No more than in sexually-produced children.
There are fears that many of the surrogate mothers will suffer horrible miscarriages.
If an embryo is not viable there will be miscarriages in the few days following the implantation, just like in IVF.
The IVF success rate is in the range of 30 to 40 per cent meaning that 60 to 70 per cent of the implantations lead to miscarriages.
This is well documented. We do not know why these miscarriages [in cloning projects] would be more horrible than the other ones. The surrogate mothers know that they may have to face it.
How has life changed for you since you became Rael?
No more selfishness. I think only about the well-being of humanity, and I devote my life to helping mankind to reach higher levels, both spiritually and scientifically.
How do you see the world in the year 2020?
Cloning will be performed by hundreds every day as IVF is today. The media was talking about monsters and Frankenstein after the birth of Louise Brown, the first test-tube baby. Now 20,000 babies have been born using this technique. It is well accepted. It will be the same with cloning.
Nanotechnology will make work obsolete, as well as money. Nanorobots or nanobots will do all the work and production, and humans will be able to enjoy life. All diseases will be cured thanks to genetics, cloning and stem cells. Schools will disappear replaced by direct downloading of education in the brain, jails will disappear, and eternal life will be available for all.
Interview with Dr. Panayiotis Zavos, human cloning project leader
'A human can be cloned safely'
Do you believe that a human can be cloned? Or is it all a dream?
The project is on its way to being executed and therefore it is not just a dream. A human can be cloned and can be cloned safely. Please do not forget that the effort of our consortium is to apply the human therapeutic cloning technology for reproductive purposes only and to those who have exhausted every possible avenue in reproducing their own biological child.
What is the progress of your project?
It is well under way and we're making progress every day.
Experts have criticised your project, not only because of the ethical issues but because of the possibility that a cloned human will have serious malformations.
The so-called experts in the field of animal cloning have created a monstrous opinion about reproductive cloning. Since they have been unable to execute their efforts successfully, because of a variety of reasons, they believe that nobody else should attempt to apply this development in humans.
Most of the animal cloners have carried out their so-called experiments in a "hit and miss" configuration and are driven by fame and fortune. We are not driven by any of those qualities but rather by our desire to help our fellow men and women to have a better life.
Experts say that serious malformations have occurred in all species cloned so far, and they are sure it will happen in humans too. Are their fears justified?
With further experimentation our consortium will be able to develop the proper technology to bypass and overcome any of the so-called difficulties that the animal cloners are referring to. We do not live in a perfect world and therefore there will be mishaps and risks taken like any other technology that is currently available for use in humans. The consortium will not step on dead bodies and deformed babies to develop and apply this technology. Furthermore, we will not do this unless it is safe. This is the responsible way of going about it.
|NEWS OF THE FIRST CLONED BABY:
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Dec. 27, 2002) - A chemist connected to a group that believes life on Earth was created by extraterrestrials claimed Friday to have produced the world's first human clone, a baby girl named Eve.
The 7-pound baby was born Thursday, said Brigitte Boisselier, head of Clonaid, the company that claimed success in the project. She wouldn't say where the baby was born.
Even before the announcement, other scientists expressed doubt that her group could clone a human.
Boisselier, who spoke at a news conference, said the baby is a clone of the 30-year-old American woman who donated the DNA for the cloning process, had the resulting embryo implanted and then gestated the baby. If confirmed, that would make the child an exact genetic duplicate of her mother.
''It is very important to remember that we are talking about a baby,'' she said. ''The baby is very healthy. She is fine, she doing fine. The parents are happy. I hope that you remember them when you talk about this baby, not like a monster, like some results of something that is disugusting.''
Boisselier did not immediately present DNA evidence showing a genetic match between mother and daughter, however. That omission leaves her claim scientifically unsupported.
The group expects four more babies to be born in the next few weeks, another from North America, one from Europe and two from Asia.
She said the baby will go home in three days, and an independent expert will take DNA samples from the baby to prove she had been cloned. Those test results are expected within a week after the testing.
Most scientists, already skeptical of Boisellier's ability to produce a human clone, will probably demand to know exactly how the DNA testing was done before they believe the announcement.
Clonaid was founded in the Bahamas in 1997 by Claude Vorilhon, a former French journalist and leader of a group called the Raelians. Vorilhon and his followers claim aliens visiting him in the 1970s revealed they had created all life on Earth through genetic engineering.
Cloning produces a new individual using only one person's DNA. The process is technically difficult but conceptually simple. Scientists remove the genetic material from an unfertilized egg, then introduce new DNA from a cell of the animal to be cloned. Under the proper conditions, the egg begins dividing into new cells according to the instructions in the introduced DNA.
Boisselier, who claims two chemistry degrees and previously was marketing director for a chemical company in France, identifies herself as a Raelian ''bishop'' and said Clonaid retains philosophical but not economic links to the Raelians. She is not a specialist in reproductive medicine.
Human cloning for reproductive purposes is banned in several countries. There is no specific law against it in the United States, but the Food and Drug Administration contends it must approve any human experiments in this country. Boisselier would not say where Clonaid has been carrying out its experiments. Bush administration officials said in Washington on Thursday they were aware of rumors of an announcement but had no plans to comment on the matter until after the details were known.
In Rome, fertility doctor Severino Antinori, who said weeks ago he had engineered a cloned baby boy who would be born in January, dismissed Clonaid's claims and said the group has no scientific credibility.
The news ''makes me laugh and at the same time disconcerts me, because it creates confusion between those who make serious scientific research'' and those who don't, Antinori said.
''We keep up our scientific work, without making announcements,'' he added. ''I don't take part in this ... race.''
So far scientists have succeeded in cloning sheep, mice, cows, pigs, goats and cats. Last year, scientists in Massachusetts produced cloned human embryos with the intention of using them as a source of stem cells, but the cloned embryos never grew bigger than six cells.
Many scientists oppose cloning to produce humans, saying it's too risky because of abnormalities seen in cloned animals.
Copyright 2002 The Associated Press.