The National Bioethics Advisory Commission
(NBAC) was created by Executive Order 12975 on October 3, 1995. Eighteen
members were appointed by the President. Its inaugural meeting was
held on October 4, 1996. The Commission was working on addressing
two issues defined in the charter when the news about Dolly broke in February
1997. At the President'
s request, the Commission considered the legal
and ethical implications of applying somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning
technology to the creation of human beings. Their report was delivered
to the President on June 9, 1997. On the same day, the President
transmitted a draft bill to Congress adhering to the Commission'
On November 14, the President requested that the Commission "undertake a thorough review of the issues associated with human stem cell research, balancing all the ethical and medical considerations." The Commission is also working concurrently on two projects defined as high priority in the establishing Executive Order: Federal protection of human subjects (with an emphasis on individuals with mental disorders that may affect their decision-making capacity), and use of biological material in human subject research. Topics of interest for future work include ethical guidelines for U.S. funding of international human subject research and broadening Federal oversight of private sector research.