Scientists and physicians from around the world have presented a declaration on human rights for nascent human beings.
The signatories include human-biology research scientists, obstetricians, gynaecologists, professors of a range of disciplines, doctors in general practice and nurses. They have joined together to declare the truth about the human embryo.
The signatories' action is a collective response to this week's meeting in Paris of UNESCO's international bioethics committee, which is discussing whether so-called therapeutic cloning should be banned worldwide.
The declaration among other things, says:
"We, in our capacity as members of society who undertake scientific discovery and deliberate on scientific knowledge, herein pledge to respect the inherent rights of human embryos and foetuses during our quest for beneficial knowledge, just as we respect the inviolable and inalienable rights of children and adults."
It also says: "We request the removal of all existing permissions and practices that enable negative discrimination against human embryos and foetuses. Chief among these are the legalisation of abortion and approval for research that harms or destroys human embryos."
The declaration adds: "We declare that every stage in the developmental continuum of human life has the same right to life and right to protection from harm as all others."
The full text and current list of signatories is on the web at http://www.amnestyforbabies.com/scidec The declaration remains open there for signing, and scientists and physicians are invited to sign it.
UNESCO is the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. UNESCO's International Bioethics Committee (IBC) was founded in 1993.