Thursday, July 25, 2002
This is Merely the First Few Paragraphs of an Article in Italics
S.Korea Investigating Firm's Baby Cloning Claims
Thu Jul 25, 2:57 AM ET
By Paul Eckert
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea ( news - web sites) said on Thursday it was investigating a U.S.-based firm run by a UFO-inspired spiritual sect which claims it has implanted a cloned embryo in a Korean woman.
As Seoul's media urged the country to swiftly pass laws against human cloning in the wake of Clonaid's claim, the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare was quick to underline its opposition to the practice.
"We began investigating the company yesterday," a ministry spokesman said.
"Before finding out whether or not there's a woman pregnant with a cloned baby, we must state that the practice of human cloning itself is unethical," the spokesman said.
Clonaid Korea spokesman Kwak Gi-hwa told a news conference in South Korea on Wednesday that the firm had implanted a Korean surrogate mother with a cloned embryo. The woman would give birth in South Korea, which has no laws against the procedure, he said.
In an interview with Reuters television on Thursday, Kwak repeated his assertion.
"The surrogate mother, who arrived in South Korea a month ago, came with an embryo which had been implanted on her uterine wall by foreign technicians," he said.
JESUS WAS CLONE, GROUP SAYS
The Health Ministry spokesman told Reuters the ministry had drawn up guidelines on human cloning which permit the cloning of embryos only for medical treatment.
"Embryo cloning is totally different from human cloning which isn't permissible anywhere in the world," he said by telephone.
Kwak, who declined to disclose where in South Korea the surrogate mother was or to give the address of Clonaid's office, said the firm sought "to inform as many people as possible that eternal life is possible with science."
Clonaid's web site, www.clonaid.com, says the firm was set up in 1997 by the Raelian Movement, which preaches that life on earth was created through genetic engineering by extraterrestrials and that Jesus was the product of advanced cloning techniques.