Breaking away from more conservative groups, the American Bar Association (ABA) voted last week in favor of a policy that opposes any government ban on cloning for medical research, and condemns legislation that would criminalize scientists who pursue medical cloning research.

"Members overwhelmingly agreed with the policy," said policy author, Robyn Shapiro, director of the Center for the Study of Bioethics at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. "This outcome shows that there is a growing support throughout the nation for this position."

The House of Delegates, the ABA's policy-making body, approved the resolution by voice vote during its annual meeting in Washington. Lawyers who drafted the policy wrote: "Governmental action that would ban all forms of cloning, and thereby foreclose all potential avenues of medical advancement offered by therapeutic cloning, poses a direct and serious threat to freedom of scientific inquiry."

The new ABA stance is at...

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