Are You Unique? (for Cloning)
Uploaded by Admin on Dec 08, 2000
You have been told that you are unique. The belief that there is no one else like you in the whole world has made you feel special and proud. In the near future, this belief may not be true.
The world was stunned by the news in the summer of 1995, when a British embryologist named Ian Wilmut, and his research team, successfully cloned Dolly the sheep using the technique of nuclear transfer. Replacing the DNA of one sheep’s egg with the DNA of another sheep’s udder created Dolly. Plants and lower forms of animal life have been successfully cloned for many years, but before Wilmut's announcement, it had been thought by many to be unlikely that such a procedure could be performed on larger mammals and life forms. The world media was immediately filled with heated discussions about the ethical implications of cloning.
Some of the most powerful people in the world have felt compelled to act against this threat. President Clinton swiftly imposed a ban on federal funding for human-cloning research. Bills were put in the works in both houses of Congress to outlaw human cloning because it was deemed as a fundamentally evil thing that must be stopped. But what, exactly, is bad about it? From an ethical point of view, it is difficult to see exactly what is wrong with cloning human beings. The people who are afraid of cloning tend to assume that someone would, for example, break into Napoleon's Tomb, steal some DNA and make a bunch of emperors. In reality, infertile people who use donated sperm, eggs, or embryos would probably use cloning. Do the potential harms outweigh the benefits of cloning? From what we know now, they don't. Therefore, we should not rush placing a ban on a potentially useful method of helping infertile, genetically at-risk, homosexual, or single people to become parents.
Do human beings have a right to reproduce? No one has the moral right to tell another person that they should not be able to have children, and I don't see why Bill Clinton has that right either. If humans have a right to reproduce, what right does society have to limit the means? Essentially all reproduction done these days is with medical help at delivery, and even before. Truly natural human reproduction would make pregnancy-related death the number one killer of adult women.
Some forms of medical help...