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February 2002


Senate Girds for Historic Debate on Human Embryo Farms

WASHINGTON (February 5, 2002) -- Two contending alliances of organizations are girding for a historic battle in the U.S. Senate over the issue of cloning human embryos.

At issue is legislation - - already passed by the House, and supported by President Bush - - that would make it a crime to create a cloned human embryo. The powerful biotechnology industry and various research advocacy groups have launched a sophisticated lobbying and public relations campaign to defeat the bill, and the outcome in the Senate is very much in doubt.

"Unless more senators reject the pressure from the biotech industry and research advocacy groups, we may see human embryo farms open up for business in the near future," warned NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson. "Only intense grassroots activity across the nation can counter the pro-cloning lobbying campaign." [See "Congressional Alert," page 24.]

What Is cloning?

Senate Sponsors of the Good and Bad Bills on Human Cloning

Urgent Congressional Alert:
U.S. Senate to Debate Human Cloning Ban


President George W. Bush is held in the highest esteem by pro-lifers. Full coverage of January 22 commemorative activities begins on page 6.


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From the President

Wanda Franz, Ph.D.

It is worth highlighting that in July 1996, coincident with the emergence of a new national debate over partial-birth abortion, Gallup recorded a significant drop in the number of Americans saying abortion should be legal in all cases. Since then, the percentage favoring unrestricted abortions has averaged just 25%, down from about 33% in the previous five years.

Two aspects of this adjustment make it unprecedented. First, it happened quickly, occurring between September 1995 and July 1996. Second, it represents the first time since Gallup began asking its principal abortion question in 1975 that opinion on the issue shifted in a significant and sustained way to the conservative side, rather than to the liberal side.

Given the timing of the shift, it appears that the debate over partial-birth abortion is the cause for this adjustment in public attitudes. It appears that partial-birth abortion became an important factor for Americans to consider when crystallizing their own positions on abortion. Specifically, partial-birth abortion became a widely familiar "circumstance" in 1996 that some people who previously favored "abortion in all circumstances" may have had in mind when they moved into the "only certain circumstances" category. Indeed, a large number of Americans who generally think abortion should be legal in all cases, nevertheless say they favor a ban on partial-birth abortion (57%, according to a March 2000 Gallup poll). Thus, the potential for this issue to move some of these people into the " only certain circumstances" category is clear.

--Gallup Poll Special Reports: "Public Opinion About Abortion An In-Depth Review" by Lydia Saad (1/22/2002 at reports/poll Summaries)

The goal of the pro-life movement is clear: we want nothing less than the full legal protection of the right to life, from conception to natural death. For this to happen we must convince a solid majority of the public to subscribe to that goal. The question from the very beginning of the pro-life movement has been how to do this.

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