We Must Ban Therapeutic Human Cloning

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The Senate is considering a proposal to outlaw human cloning. Two alternative proposals would ban only "reproductive cloning," which would mean explicitly legalizing human cloning but not the implantation of a clone embryo into a womb. Pro-cloners are willing for the most part to outlaw reproductive cloning because it isn't safe, but they oppose a ban on cloning for research and experimentation--known as "therapeutic cloning"--arguing that such a cloning license is necessary to the development of future medical treatments for human ailments. This opposition to a ban on human therapeutic cloning is misinformed.

The case against cloning, including therapeutic cloning, has mainly been argued on grounds of morality. Opponents have warned that creating embryos through cloning for the purpose of research (with the full intention of destroying them later) is a breathtakingly radical enterprise. For the first time in history, human lives will be created for the explicit purpose of exploitation. Such considerations have led activist Jeremy Rifkin to opine that the cloning debate is to the 21st century what the slavery debate was to the 19th.

Unfortunately, we live in a time of widespread and extreme non-judgmentalism, an era when many Americans simply do not respond to moral arguments in public policy debates. For these folk, what counts is not right versus wrong, but whether it will or won't work--in a word, utility.

Does this mean that the public policy amoralists among us must end up by default on the pro-cloning side? Not at all. There is increasing evidence that therapies based on cloned embryo cells would be so difficult and expensive to develop and so utterly impractical to bring to the bedside,...

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...ork on embryos? The Red Cross representative could not have been clearer: "We really need to focus our resources, our attention, on those areas where we could most likely provide, in the shortest period of time, some therapies for our patients."

To pour money into human cloning embryonic stem cell research is to risk drilling one dry hole after another. The moral policy thus also turns out to be the pragmatic one. The United States Senate should vote to ban all human cloning now.


Civin, Curt I. "stem Cell Selection."

Prentice, David. "The Truth About Stem Cells.

Odorico and Kaufman. Embryonic Stem Cell Research - a Reality Check.
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