WASHINGTON (AP) President Bush appealed to Congress yesterday to outlaw human cloning after scientists reported they had created the first cloned human embryo.

“The use of embryos to clone is wrong,” Bush said. “We should not, as a society, grow life to destroy it, and that”s exactly what is taking place.”

Several lawmakers returning from the Thanksgiving recess also denounced the announcement Sunday that a Massachusetts company had cloned a six-cell human embryo. So did the Vatican.

The House, by a vote of 265-162, passed a ban on cloning in July, after attempts by some lawmakers to exempt research. The issue was then raised in the Senate this month but a showdown was avoided after leaders promised extensive hearings next spring.

Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer said the president was urging the Senate to pass the House legislation “as a result of this first crossing of the line.”

Sen. Sam Brownback, an outspoken abortion opponent, said he would push fellow senators to pass a cloning ban before adjourning for the year. A spokesman for Majority Leader Tom Daschle said the senator had no plans to bring the issue up before adjournment.

“We don”t know who else in the country is working on the issue of human cloning. This needs to be stopped,” said Brownback (R-Kan.)

Poll numbers show most Americans oppose cloning humans. By a 2-to-1 margin, respondents said in an ABC News/Beliefnet poll in August they thought cloning a human embryo for medical purposes should be illegal.

While a majority supported limited federal funding for medical research done on embryonic stem cells, that support evaporated when respondents were told opponents fear cloning a human embryo for research could lead eventually to the cloning of a human child.

Brownback held out the threat of delaying other bills until the issue is addressed. He said of the announcement by Advanced Cell Technology, “This trumps the situation we were in several weeks ago.”

Supporters of cloning for research urged the Senate not to act hastily. They said it is possible to ban human cloning without limiting research.

“It really is a horrendous thing to stop this research,” said Rep. Jim Greenwood (R-Pa.), the author of an unsuccessful House bill that would have permitted cloning for research. “These people are treating this issue the way they treated Copernicus and Galileo”

Rep. Peter Deutsch of Florida, the Democratic sponsor with Greenwood, added, “Research … is a critical component for cures.”

Doug Hattaway, a spokesman for Daschle (D-S.D.), said yesterday that the majority leader did not intend to bring up the cloning measure before adjournment.

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