Assistant editor of The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society Appeared in BioNews Compared to the frenzy over human cloning a decade ago, in recent years the issue has received very little political attention, despite the recent breakthroughs in therapeutic cloning by US scientists see BioNews and But as the ongoing fights over CRISPR and mitochondrial replacement show, some of the underlying debates about the ethics of genetic engineering and embryo experimentation are still with us.
The arguments against human cloning, such as those presented in the Andrews Report, are weak, except for the safety issue. The arguments can either be applied with equal force to other ethical situations that are not prohibited, or are inconsistent with the three principles listed above.
It is a simple matter to rebut these arguments, which seem to have influenced the clauses in the PHC Act. An argument against human cloning Andrews Report lists some arguments against human cloning. It is undisputed that cloning is currently an untested technology. Safety is the only valid argument against human cloning.
If any technology is unsafe, it should not be permitted until the safety risks are managed. For reproductive cloning, this could mean being as safe as IVF technology for example.
However, the question that ought to be asked is what the ethical status of human reproductive cloning should be if the technology were accepted to be as safe, for example, as IVF technology.
If human cloning were accepted to be safe next year, why should it then not be permitted? What disasters will befall us? The Andrews Report refers to Professors Trounson and Williamson arguing that there is no medical reason for reproductive cloning.
There are no medical reasons for eating chocolates, driving cars, using IVF technology or adopting children, but none of these are prohibited. There are biological and social reasons, other than medical reasons, for human cloning.
Childless couples would be able to use cloning technology, and for many of them this may be preferable to IVF or surrogacy arrangements. IVF with sperm donors is not for everyone, but it is nonetheless permitted for those who want it.
That there may not be any medical reasons for reproductive cloning is in essence irrelevant.
Identical twins are natural clones. Identical twins should be prohibited if this dignity argument has any merit, but there have been no moves in modern times to prohibit twins.
The human dignity argument seems to be premised on the concept of genetic determinism, that people are equated to their genes. However, genetic determinism is false, many factors combine to determine who a person is. As a hypothetical situation, imagine a couple who had two embryos preserved after an IVF procedure.
They had these embryos tested, and genomes checked. One embryo had an extremely severe genetic defect and the other had the identical genome to an existing person this is of course extremely improbable in reality. Would anybody actually propose that the genetically damaged embryo be grown to full term, rather than cloning the existing person?
If cloning an existing person is acceptable here, this counterexample shows there is no valid dignity argument against cloning. And clones should not be discriminated against Principle 2. So there is no problem with human cloning, unless one has preconceived intentions to discriminate against it.
Some would argue that a cloned child is a means to an end. Everybody who intentionally conceives a child does so for a reason, whether it is to raise a child to love and nurture, propagate their genes, support themselves in their old age, bear a child on a significant date for example 1 Januaryconform to peer or parental pressure, or mistakenly help save a marriage.
Two points should be made. When a child is born, the child is an end, not a means to an end. Every person is an autonomous being worthy of respect, and children do not exist for the benefit of parents. A cloned child could actually enhance the family relationship for otherwise childless couples.
An adopted person, or one produced through IVF technology if produced using donor sperm or eggsor through a surrogacy agreement, is also not a biological descendent of its parents.
But we do not prohibit children who are adopted or produced through IVF technology or consider them unethical.Human Cloning: Is it Ethical or Not? - Reproductive human cloning is a form of asexual reproduction done in a lab, not by a sperm fertilizing an egg.
Priests for Life PO Box • Cocoa, FL Tel. , • [email protected] Dolly the Sheep and the human cloning debate - twenty years later. Cloning to make a human being is called therapeutic cloning.
False The yuck factor argument to human cloning holds that we ought to trust our gut reactions to certain procedures as . Reproductive Cloning Arguments Pro and Con Arguments offered for and against reproductive cloning are given below.
A summary comment follows at the end of the arguments. Most advocates of human cloning also advocate the genetic modification of the human species.
Human cloning is a blunt form of eugenics-it "copies" an existing genome. The Governments Make a Move The governments went to work shortly after the cloning of Dolly. They wanted to take control and make laws before anything drastic could ever happen.
Several ethics committees were asked to decide whether scientists should be allowed to try to clone humans.