Laws and Public Policy about Cloning

Animal Cloning Policy | U.S Human Cloning Laws and Policy | Advocacy Groups-US | U.K.Human Cloning Laws and Policy
International Human Cloning Laws and Policy

Animal Cloning Laws and Policy

Regulation of animal cloning in the United States is under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration. Their Center for Veterinary Medicine has a page about Cloning of Food-Producing Animals.

Advocacy groups

  • The International Embryo Transfer Society has issued a position statement in favor of animal cloning research. (Most scientific organizations have focused their position statements regarding human cloning (see below), presuming already their support for animal cloning)
  • The Humane Society of the United States has issued a press release condemming the cloning of cats or other pets.

Human Cloning Laws and Policy

The possibility of human cloning has been the source of debates by the governments of many countries and international organizations. Policies and laws are currently being formulated in different countries and even in different states of the United States. Statements of the U.S., U.K. and Canadian governments and many other publications that explain the moral, ethical and legal issues of human cloning that are pertinent.

United States

Federal Level

The Food and Drug Administration has regulatory jurisdiction over clinical research using cloning technology in humans, and the National Institutes of Health Human Embryo Research Panel has developed a science policy report.

A policy brief on human cloning with a summary of both sides of the legislative debate is provided by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Congressional Proceedings:
Federal Policies on Cloning: A summary of attempts at cloning legislation in the United States Congress is provided by the Center for Genetics and Society. An analysis of why federal laws have not yet been passed in the United States is included.

The Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2007 (H.R. 2560) was introduced on June 5, 2007 and defeated in the House. Republicans called it a "phony ban" that does not prohibit cloning but only the implanation of a clone into a woman.

The Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2003 (H.R.234) passed the House of Representatives on 27 Feb, 2003 but was not acted upon by the Senate. This bill is almost identical to the Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2001 (H.R. 2505) which was passed in the House on 31 July, 2001 but which also was not acted upon by the Senate.

See a Washington Post article about the passage of the 2001 House bill. President Bush's views were made known through his speech to the U.N. in September 2002.

Issues Raised by Human Cloning Research Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations 28 March, 2001.
Prepared testimony by various experts: research scientists, medical doctors, bioethics specialists.

Statement of Thomas H. Murray, Ph.D., Commissioner, National Bioethics Advisory Commission, Testimony before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, United States House of Representatives, March 28, 2001.

The National Bioethics Advisory Committee on June 9, 1997 submitted a full report (and executive summary) on cloning human beings including several commissioned papers by various experts and addressing scientific, religious, legal, and ethical considerations. This committee was dissolved in October, 2000, and President George W. Bush replaced it by The President's Council on Bioethics which has released its first publication in July 2002: Human Cloning and Human Dignity: An Ethical Inquiry.


State Level

Because the federal government so far has not legislated comprehensive laws regarding human biotechnologies, various states have passed their own laws.

The National Conference on State Legislatures has a page which details State Human Cloning Laws.

The Center for Genetics and Society also has a page on State Policies for human cloning.


Advocacy Groups: American organizations advocating public policy on human cloning


United Kingdom:

UK politicians have given the go-ahead to allow cloning of human embryos for therapeutic (to develop stem cells to regenerate tissues) but not for reproductive purposes. See BBC news story and Q&A about therapeutic human cloning.

Search the Department of Health Web site for more press releases on U.K. cloning policy.


Advocacy Groups: U.K. organizations advocating public policy on human cloning

The Research Defense Society has a hot topics--animal cloning page to provide information for the public for debate and discussion.


International Organizations:

The United Nations after two years of debate has voted in March 2005 to approve a non-binding global ban on all human cloning. See BBC news story. The U.S. and many Catholic countries voted in favor, while the U.K. voted against.

Additional Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with Regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine, on the Prohibition of Cloning Human Beings from the Council of Europe, this treaty became open for signature on 12 January 1998. It entered into force on 3 March 2001 with at least 5 ratifications including 4 member states.

The World Health Organization has put together a list of a dozen questions and answers about cloning and includes their position statements from 1998 and 1997.