On Human Cloning

2645 Words11 Pages
On Human Cloning

How should we think about cloning as philosophers and feminists? Reproduction by cloning is not, in itself, morally inferior to human sexual reproduction. Moral criticism of cloning rests on condemnation of its "unnaturalness" or "impiety," but this kind of criticism should not persuade non-believers. I evaluate cloning in two phases. First, some hypothetical situations involving private choices about cloning are examined within a liberal framework. From this individualistic perspective, cloning appears no more morally problematic than sexual reproduction. A liberal feminist may welcome the possibility of human cloning as an expansion of the range of reproductive options open to women. The second phase argues for a shift in the framework of analysis in order to get a more complete evaluation of the ethical implications of human cloning, including questions of distributive justice and the ideology of reproduction.

How should we think about cloning as philosophers and feminists? Reproducing by cloning is not, in itself, morally inferior to reproducing by human sexual reproduction. Moral criticism of cloning in itself rests on condemnation of cloning's "unnaturalness" or "impiety," but this kind of criticism should not persuade non-believers. In this paper, cloning is evaluated in two phases. First, some hypothetical situations involving private choices about cloning are examined within a liberal framework. From this individualistic perspective, cloning appears no more morally problematic than is sexual reproduction. A liberal feminist may welcome the possibility of human cloning, as expanding the range of reproductive options open to women. The second phase argues for a shift in framework of analysis to get a more complete evaluation of the ethical implications of human cloning, including questions of distributive justice and the ideology of reproduction.

In this paper, "cloning" refers to a process begun when an enucleated oocyte receives a complete set of genetic material from one adult of the same species, and then develops. The resultant cloned embryo is genetically identical to the adult supplying the DNA. Thus, cloning differs from sexual reproduction, in which half the genetic material of the fertilized egg is supplied from the oocyte itself and half from the sperm. It is also different from "twinning," in which an egg, once fertilized sexually, splits into two genetically identical zygotes, each of which may develop into an embryo. In February 1997, Dr. Ian Wilmut announced the birth of Dolly, the cloned offspring of an ewe. If it is possible to clone sheep, why not then humans?

More about On Human Cloning

Open Document