-THE ETHICS ON HUMAN CLONING-
Cloning is just one example of the great power of gene
technology, a technology we urgently need to treat or cure diseases such as
diabetes, cystic fibrosis, cancer or AIDS, and to help feed the growing
world population. However gene technology raises urgent questions of safety
Human cloning means designer people with known pedigree. This is
the ultimate pedigree child. Cloning of human embryos has already been
achieved. Successful cloning of adults have announced but not yet proven.
It is only a matter of time, months or a very few years before human
cloning is a reality for anyone with enough cash, willing to take the risks
of a hideously malformed or emotionally damaged child.
Despite huge risks, and widespread public condemnation, by January 2001
many different scientists across the world were already locked in a race to
clone the first human.
Huge amounts of money are at stake in human cloning research. Teams have
announced their aim, many people have come forward with offers of eggs,
their own adult cells and money – and the US still has no laws to prevent
human cloning from happening, nor do most other countries of the world.
One set of ethical concerns about human clones involves the risks and
uncertainties associated with the current state of cloning technology. This
technology has not yet been tested with human subjects, and scientists
cannot rule out the possibility of mutation or other biological damage.
The ethical issues of greatest importance about cloning do not involve
possible failures of cloning technology, but rather the consequences of its
success. Assuming that scientists were able to clone human beings without
incurring the risks mentioned above, what concerns might there be about the
welfare of clones?
Here are three reasons why we should say NO to cloning: cloning is not
1. Non ethical health risks from mutation of genes – an abnormal baby would
be a nightmare come true. The technique is extremely risky right
now. A particular worry is the possibility that the genetic material used
from the adult will continue to age so that the genes in a newborn baby
clone could be 30 years old or more on the day of birth. Many attempts at
animal cloning produced disfigured monsters with severe abnormalities.
2.Non ethical emotional risks – a child grows up knowing her mother is
her sister, her grandmother isher
mother. Her father is her brother-in-law. Every time her mother looks
at her she is seeing herself growing up. Unbearable emotional pressures on
a teenager trying to establish his or her identity. What happens to a
marriage when the “father” sees his wife’s clone grow up into the exact
replica (by appearance) of the beautiful 18 year old he fell in love with
35 years ago? A sexual relationship would of course be with his wife’s
twin, no incest involved technically.You will not findachild
psychiatrist in the world who could possibly say that there will not be
very significant emotional risk to the cloned child as a result of these
3.Non ethical risk of abuse of the technology – what would Hitler have
done with cloning technology if available in the 1940s? There are powerful
leaders in every generation who will seek to abuse this technology for
their own purposes. Going ahead with cloning technology makes this far
more likely. You cannot have so-called therapeutic cloning without
reproductive cloning because the technique to make cloned babies is the
same as to make a cloned embryo to try to make replacement tissues. In any
case it is a myth that you will get organs from cloned embryos. At best
you will get clusters of cells. And at the speed at which biotech is
accelerating there will soon be other ways to get such cells. It is rather
crude to create a complete embryonic identical twin embryo just to get hold
of stem cells to make – say – nervous tissue. Much better to take cells
from the adult and trigger them directly to regress to a more primitive
form without the ethical issues raised by inserting a full adult set of
genes into an unfertilised egg.
There is more to life than life.We are more than the sum of our constituent
parts.There is more to a human consciousness and individuality than just a
bunch of chemicals.There is more to it than just a complex bio-machine
driven by a few long strips of genetic code.
Cloning offers remarkable insight into the power of creation that
humanity has taken into its fold. One theological analysis holds that
humans are co-creators with God; perhaps it is more accurate to say that
humans are moving ever closer to a posture of making babies, rather than
having babies. Cloning represents a remarkable test of human restraint,
wisdom and institutional development, one that will in many ways identify
the moral features of 21st century biotechnology.