[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[January 10, 1998]
[Pages 37-38]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

The President's Radio Address
January 10, 1998

    Good morning. Today I want to talk with you about the extraordinary 
promise of science and technology and the extraordinary responsibilities 
that promise imposes on us.
    As we approach the 21st century it is clearer than ever that science 
and technology are changing the way we live and work and raise our 
families. Remarkable breakthroughs in biomedical science are helping to 
unravel the mysteries of life, holding out new hope for lifesaving cures 
to some of our most dreaded diseases. In recent years, we've made real 
progress lengthening the lives of people with HIV, finding the genes 
that can show heightened risk for breast cancer and diabetes. Now we're 
on the verge of discovering new treatments for spinal cord and even 
brain injuries.
    For 5 years I have maintained our Nation's solid commitment to 
scientific research and technological development, because I believe 
they're essential to our Nation's economic growth and to building the 
right kind of bridge to the 21st century. The balanced budget I will 
submit in just a few weeks to Congress reflects that continued 
commitment. And in my upcoming State of the Union Address, I'll talk 
more about what we're doing to keep America on the cutting edge of the 
scientific and technological advancements that are driving our new 
global economy.
    Still, it's good to remember that scientific advancement does not 
occur in a moral vacuum. Technological developments divorced from values 
will not bring us one step closer to meeting the challenges or reaping 
the benefits of the 21st century.
    This week, like many Americans, I learned the profoundly troubling 
news that a member of the scientific community 
is actually laying plans to clone a human being. Personally, I believe 
that human cloning raises deep concerns, given our cherished concepts of 
faith and humanity. Beyond that, however, we know there is virtually 
unanimous consensus in the scientific and medical communities that 
attempting to use these cloning techniques to actually clone a human 
being is untested and unsafe and morally unacceptable.
    We must continue to maintain our deep commitment to scientific 
research and technological development. But when it comes to a discovery 
like cloning, we must move with caution, care, and deep concern about 
the impact of our actions. That is why I banned the use of Federal funds 
for cloning human beings while we study the risks and responsibilities 
of such a possibility. And that's why I sent legislation to Congress 
last June that would ban the cloning of human beings for at least 5 
years while preserving our ability to use the morally and medically 
acceptable applications of cloning technology.
    Unfortunately, Congress has not yet acted on this legislation. Yet, 
it's now clearer than ever the legislation is exactly what is needed. 
The vast majority of scientists and physicians in the private sector 
have refrained from using these techniques improperly and have risen up 
to condemn any plans to do so. But we know it's possible for some to 
ignore the consensus of their colleagues and proceed without regard for 
our common values. So today, again, I call on Congress to act now to 
make it illegal for anyone to clone a human being.
    Our Nation was founded by men and women who firmly believed in the 
power of science to transform their world for the better. Like them, 
we're bound together by common dreams and by the values that will drive 
our own vision for the future. And our commitment to carry those 
enduring ideals with us will renew their promise in a new century and a 
new millennium. We must never lose touch with that, no matter what the 
reason, or we'll lose touch with ourselves as a people.

[[Page 38]]

    Thanks for listening.

Note: The address was recorded at 11:00 p.m. on January 9 at the Four 
Seasons Hotel in Houston, TX, for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on January 10. 
In his address, the President referred to physicist Richard Seed, who 
announced on January 6 his intention to clone a human being within 2 
years. Attached to the transcript of the address were copies of the 
President's memorandum of March 4, 1997, and his message to the Congress 
of June 9, 1997, on human cloning (Public Papers of the Presidents: 
William J. Clinton, 1997 Book I (Washington: U.S. Government Printing 
Office, 1998), p. 233 and p. 711).