The Cons of Human Cloning
Since Scottish reporters reported the successful cloning of the sheep Dolly in 1997, many biologists as well as the public have been debating over whether the cloning of human beings was a possibility. In the Summer of 1999, reports came in of the first cloned human embryo. Chicago physicist Richard Seed announced his plans of how he was going to clone a human being. His proposal was debated among the media and most of it was negative criticism. Even President Clinton joined the debate pledging to outlaw both public and private cloning operations. In a radio address he argued, "Personally, I believe that human cloning raises deep concerns, given our cherished concepts of faith and humanity." In July 1997, the President's National Bioethics Advisory Committee issued a report in which it concluded that human cloning should not be attempted by anyone. House of Representatives Majority Leader Dick Armey, a republican from Texas, also called for an end to human cloning. On "Fox News Sunday," he said, "I think this is a nasty business, something that we should not be messing in." Since then, many anti-cloning bills have been introduced on Capital Hill and passed. Thus cloning of humans is certainly disliked by government officials and is illegal in the United States.
Many other negative aspects about human cloning have been debated among scientists and critics. One aspect is the possibility of physical harm to the human embryo. They see that technology is not safe enough to use on humans. Some are also afraid that clones will age quicker since the cell used in the cloning procedure has already been used in a real life individual.
Opponents also argue that psychological harms could fall upon children. They could suffer from a reduced sense of individuality, and a cloned child may feel that their future is worth less as it now rests in a cloned individual. Also critics argue that cloning encourages parents to value how well children can genetically meet their expectations rather than loving them for being just their children. Also with cloning humans, parents and society may now see their children as objects and not as human beings with actual feelings. It is also seen that if human cloning becomes a reality and a regular social practice, parents who want to "play the lottery" and not genetically choose their child may be cast out of society.
It is also argued that we should not use scarce resources in order to concentrate on cloning when there are more pressing issues such as curing diseases.
Cloning human beings is a very interesting issue to debate and raises not only technological issues, but also ethical ones as well. Many people have debated this issue in a religious or philosophical manner. In the final topic, I will deal with this issue.
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Last updated May 10, 2000.
Copyright Jen Franchino, Vinnie Verruto, Allison Zuckerbrow,
Jeff May, Univ. of Delaware, 2000