Help Combat "Media Myths" on Human Cloning Bills!

As Congress debates the human cloning issue, many news reports continue to contain distortions regarding what the competing cloning bills would allow and what they would forbid. Some use explanations and terminology that give readers or viewers a distorted picture of what the argument is really about.

The public deserves an honest debate on the critically important issue of human cloning! You can help combat these damaging "media myths" by informing yourself and then politely challenging journalists and others who disseminate distortions to the public on this issue.

NRLC has posted on its website a paper titled "Human Cloning: Misconceptions and Distortions," written by NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson, which gives examples of these "media myths" on human cloning, and provides documentation that will allow you to challenge such distortions. You can read or download the paper at http://www.nrlc.org/Killing_Embryos/cloningbackrounder021003.html.

For example, watch for news stories or editorials that contain any of these common distortions:

* The claim that the bills that would allow "therapeutic cloning" would only allow research on human "cells," or on "eggs," or on "unfertilized eggs." In reality, these bills allow and encourage human embryos to be created by cloning and then killed in biomedical research.

* The claim that the bills that would ban all human cloning, such as those supported by NRLC and by President Bush, would restrict "stem cell research," or prohibit research on "human eggs" or "human cells." In reality, neither side's bill would restrict research on human ova ("eggs"), and both allow the use of cloning methods to produce human DNA, cells, or tissues. The Weldon-Stupak and Brownback-Landrieu bills prohibit only the cloning of and trafficking in human embryos.

* The claim that all lawmakers agree that they should pass a federal law to "ban reproductive cloning" (referring to the birth of cloned babies), but "anti-abortion" groups also want to add a ban on "therapeutic cloning." In reality, there is only one human cloning procedure (somatic cell nuclear transfer), and when done successfully it always will produce a human embryo. Lawmakers who say that they want to allow the cloning of human embryos, but also ban "reproductive cloning," are really supporting bills that would make it a crime not to kill every cloned human embryo. (There is no consensus in support of such a "clone and kill" policy. Indeed, last year's Gallup poll found that 61% of the public opposes the cloning of human embryos for medical research--and pollsters who inform respondents that the research will kill the embryos find even stronger public disapproval.)

When you see such errors, send a private e-mail or fax to the writer, and/or a letter for publication, that sets the record straight. You can find the mailing addresses, fax numbers, and e-mail addresses for many specific editors and reporters in your area by using the Media Finder on the NRLC Legislative Action Center at http://www.capwiz.com/nrlc/dbq/media/.