Human Cloning, Is It Ethical?

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  • Topic: Cloning, Human, Human cloning
  • Pages : 6 (2408 words )
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  • Published : March 8, 2011
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Human cloning is and has been the subject of moral debate in the United States and around the world, and because of this it has raised many ethical questions. Such as, should it be done? Could the clone survive? If human cloning technology were safe and widely available, what use would they have for it and what reasons would they have to use it? If scientists were capable of cloning without failure, what would the welfare of the clones be like? Would the clone be its own person or would it be an extension of the originator of the DNA? Is human cloning “playing with nature?” What social challenges would a cloned child face? Do the costs outweigh the benefits? And, should cloning be regulated? There were 2 published reports that were written about the issue of human reproductive cloning, one by the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, in 1997, and the other by the National Academy of Sciences, in January 2002. Both reports concluded “that attempts to clone a human being would be unethical at this time due to safety concerns & the likelihood of harm to those involved.” The U.S. Congress tried to pass a ban on all human cloning, along with the production of cloned embryos, in 1998, and again in 2001-2002, then again with the House of Representatives. With so many attempts at banning it, one would wonder, why are they so afraid of it? There are some bad things that could happen and there are some wonderful things that could be developed to help a lot of sick or dying people. I will explain when thoughts of cloning started up to when Dolly the sheep was cloned, as well as, why the general population believes that cloning is unethical and morally wrong.

To start off, I would like to explain a few important terms, such as cloning & human cloning. Cloning, as defined by The Report of the President Council on Bioethics, is a form of reproduction in which offspring result not from the chance union of egg & sperm (sexual reproduction), but from the deliberate replication of the genetic makeup of another single individual (asexual reproduction). Human cloning is the asexual production of a new human organism that is, at all stages of development, genetically virtually identical to a currently existing or previously existing human being. It would be accomplished by introducing the nuclear material of a human somatic cell (donor) into an oocyte (egg) whose own nucleus has been removed or inactivated, yielding a product that has a human genetic constitution virtually identical to the donor of the somatic cell (this procedure is known as “somatic cell nuclear transfer,” or “SCNT”). To show where cloning started we need to go back to the nineteenth century writings of Thomas Robert Malthus, who wrote that “the population of humans tends to exceed available resources.” Charles Darwin also suggested, “That the generation of enormous numbers of individuals played a role in evolution.” In 1952, Drs. Robert Briggs and Thomas King, who were working at the Institute for Cancer Research in Philadelphia, first used the term “nuclear transplantation” in regard to animal cloning. Human cloning filtered into public thoughts in the 1960’s, and wasn’t thought of in fear but as funny (comical). In 1966, Joshua Lederberg, wrote an article in the American Naturalist, detailing advantages to human cloning and other forms of genetic engineering. A year later he had column written in the Washington Post, telling of the prospect of human cloning and the column sparked a public debate. The 1970 publication of Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock, firmly planted human cloning into the public consciousness. In the book, The Road to Dolly and the Path Ahead, by Gina Kolata, “other scientists thought of cloning as kooky, and that serious scientists thought that this would not happen anytime soon. It was thought of as truly fantastic and horrifying at the same time.” In, 1972, Williard Gaylin, a psychiatrist & founder of the Hastings Center, believed...
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