The Ethics of Cloning

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The Ethics of Cloning

On February 27, 1997, it was reported that scientists produced the first clone of an adult sheep, attracting international attention and raising questions on the morality of cloning. Within days, the public had called for ethics inquires and new laws banning cloning. Issues are now raised over the potentially destructive side of this scientific frontier. Many people are morally opposed to the possible consequences of women being able to give birth to themselves, or scientists seeking to clone "genetically superior" humans. Others argue that the positive effects of cloning will outweigh the negative. The issue over whether cloning humans is ethical is receiving more and more attention as scientists successfully experiment with cloning and gene therapy, coming closer to making human clones a reality.

An ethical basis for the rejection or acceptance of cloning in science can be based around several different theories of morality. Interestingly, those supporting a Utilitarian approach, seeking the greatest good for the greatest number, can be found on both sides of the issue. Some advocates of cloning argue that allowing society to benefit from cloned organs, for example, will outweigh the detrimental consequences of that may result from the abuse of cloning technology by a few scientists. At the same time, those adamantly against cloning argue that denying some individuals their right to a cloned child or organ is necessary to protect society from the negative affects this technology will have on humanity in general. Another common ethical approach to cloning is based on Kant's principles of autonomy and self-determination. Those supporting this theory often believe that in many cases the indivi...

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