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Human Cloning and Congress

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Human Cloning and Congress

Recent months have seen news of biotech advances all along the front: cloned cats, artificial wombs, nascent human-animal hybrids, genetic selection of embryos for implantation, fetal-tissue manipulation--and on, and on, nearly every day bringing some news item about the technology that is redefining what it means to be human. The question is, do we want this redefinition? And this essay attempts to answer this pressing question.

Like a giant jigsaw puzzle as each piece is put in place, the picture of the brave new world of eugenic biotechnology is coming clear, and it is an ugly and frightening picture of designed descendants, commodified body parts, manipulated babies, and life itself twisted to little more than the attempt to prove that it is possible to twist life.

The time to stop this is now, and the place to stop it is human cloning. We must send a message that some things we will not do, even though we can. We must draw a line and say that we do not simply acquiesce in the biotechnologists' willful and unthinking desire to fool with the basic stuff of life.

In the next two months, the Senate will debate the question of cloning, with three proposals now in play: the Brownback-Landrieu bill to ban all cloning (echoing the bill already passed by the House of Representatives), and the Feinstein-Kennedy and Harkin-Specter bills, both of which allow scientists to perform so-called "therapeutic" cloning, while prohibiting the bringing of those clones to birth in "reproductive" cloning.

There is moral fecklessness in human cloning. The attempt to allow cloned embryos and then to ban the birth at which they naturally aim is a bizarre and unworkable comp...

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...ect to bringing clones to birth when that doesn't require the genetic redesign of our descendants.

Meanwhile, the whole picture is filled in, bit by bit. With its desire to clone, the biotech revolution has set itself against the human world of bodily birth and death, unique individuals living and dying in connected families. It promises instead a place of endless mirrors reflecting nothing but themselves, a sterile realm of childless parents and parentless children, a world turned strange, inhospitable, and inhuman.

This cannot be what we want the future to look like. But the future will look like this--unless we start by saying no to cloning and persuading the Senate to pass the Brownback-Landrieu bill.

WORKS CITED:

"Christopher Reeve on Politics and Stem Cell Research." CNN http://www.cnn.com/2001/ALLPOLITICS/07/29/reeve.cnna/
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