Dilemma over citizenship for cloned babies

Reuters, Jan. 1, 2003

WASHINGTON: The prospect of someone seeking a US passport for a new-born clone has exercised minds at the State Department, but the experts appear at a loss on how they would handle it.

“In the hypothetical situation of a cloned baby, this would be a new situation. Therefore, at this time we would be unable to determine how US laws regarding nationality would apply to this child,” spokesman Philip Reeker said Monday.

“That’s a situation that is a case of first impression,” he added, using legal jargon for something unprecedented.

The possibility of a passport arose because of reports that a 31-year-old American may have given birth abroad to a clone of herself and was heading “home” with her infant girl, Eve.

A State Department official said issues of parentage and nationality could arise with a clone, especially if the child and the woman who gave birth were not genetically related. The US Food and Drug Administration said last week that implanting a cloned embryo in a woman would be illegal in the US without its approval.

Reeker said that if an American parent met certain requirements, a child born abroad would automatically become a US citizen and could immediately obtain a US passport.

Meanwhile, the founder of the Raelian cult whose adherents claim to have cloned a human, said a company he created has 2,000 people waiting to have themselves or a loved one cloned.

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