Dr Severino Antinori, who claimed at the beginning of April that the world's first clone pregnancy was underway, and later claimed that three women worldwide were pregnant with clones, said at a press conference last week that the pregnancies appeared to be 'going well'.
But, despite denying his involvement with the alleged pregnancies just two weeks ago, he now says that he is the 'cultural and scientific co-ordinator' of the reproductive cloning programme, although he is not the medical supervisor of the pregnancies. He said the women were in their sixth, seventh and tenth weeks of pregnancy, but again refused to say who had carried out the procedures, where it had been done, or offer any proof as to the existence of the pregnancies.
At the press conference, Antinori, whose claims have been regarded with scepticism from the medical and scientific world, including his former partner, Panos Zavos, expressed concern that the children, when born, will be regarded as 'freaks'. He told the press conference 'one thing is for certain: in the country where these babies will be born, if the climate of persecution does not change, everyone will say 'this is a monster''.
According to a Reuters Health reporter, the doctor, widely regarded as a maverick, then went on to accuse President Bush, known to have a strong stance against all forms of cloning, of 'ethical Talibanism'. He said 'the West and Europe simply aren't realistic in wanting to ban cloning. Bush wants to put me and other researchers under the burqa. They have to understand - reproduction, sex, everything linked to privacy cannot be meddled with by the state'.