Human Cloning Essay, Research Paper
To Clone or Not To Clone…
Since February 23rd, 1997, when British scientists announced they had successfully cloned an
adult sheep named Dolly, the world has been scrambling to limit the possibility of using cloning
techniques to clone humans. To most people, the idea of cloning humans, and its moral
implications, has been safely confined to the realm of science fiction; as something we didn’t have
to think about until later. Yet, as the world has slumbered, researchers have arrived at a
Should we clone human beings?
Before we decide on an answer, we must remember that the subject of human cloning, like any
issue with wide-ranging effects, is full of complexities that cannot be dismissed offhand with a
simple affirmative or negative answer. Yet that’s exactly what President Clinton is doing with his
recent proposals to ban research, federally funded and otherwise, in the developing field of human
cloning. Days after Dolly was revealed Clinton said, “My own view is that human cloning would
have to raise deep concerns, given our most cherished concepts of faith and humanity. Each
human life is unique, born of a miracle that reaches beyond laboratory science… I believe we must
respect this profound gift and resist the temptation to replicate ourselves.”
Hiroshi Nakajima, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) echoed Clinton’s
sentiments. “WHO considers the use of cloning for the replication of human individuals to be
ethically unacceptable,” he said, adding that such actions “would violate some of the basic
principles which govern medically assisted procreation” including respect of human dignity and
protection of human genetic material.
Thus, the line seems to be clearly drawn. If you believe human beings are unique creatures, “born
of a miracle”, then you should be against human cloning.
However, it is clear that by jumping into moralistic arguments without knowing all the facts, and
attempting to ban a new field of research out of hand, the President is only repeating the
irrational, knee-jerk reactionism of the Reagan and Bush administrations, who used similar
arguments when regulating research on human embryos. Reactionism of this kind contributes
nothing to our collective understanding, let alone advancement, of human life.
Human cloning should not be banned.
If the President’s proposed legislation passes, then human cloning will become the only field of
scientific research banned by law. The object of the ban would be to give Americans a chance to
step back from this issue and appreciate the implications of this type of research. Yet cloning is
not new, it reaches back to experiments with frogs and toads in the 1970s. Plants and animal
embryos have been cloned for years, while in October 1994, Robert J. Stillman cloned 17 flawed
human embryos at the George Washington Medical Center in Washington D.C.. Though none of
these embryos survived past the 32 cell stage, the data produced led researchers to believe that
cloned cells could continue to develop naturally in a compatible uterus.
What have the ethicists and policy makers done since the 1970s? Haven’t we had enough time to
ponder the issues?
The only reason why human cloning is highly controversial, as opposed to the cloning of other
species, is because it seems to threaten our concepts of the sanctity of human life and traditional
family values. But that’s to be expected in a progressive culture. The more we learn about the
world, the more we must redefine ourselves and our place in it. Unless you want to keep you head
in the sand, you must be prepared for such reevaluations.
Opponents to human cloning use slippery slope reasoning by assuming that a host of evils will
unfold, if human cloning is not banned, merely because of the possibility of misuse. Given the
difficulty of cloning Dolly, the only sheep born of 277 attempts, and the caution with which
researchers are already proceeding without being banned, how can we think that cloning humans
will become a common event tomorrow and used only for evil ends?
There are too many benefits to be gained from research on human cloning for it to be banned for
any reason. Human cloning research would permit doctors to determine the cause of spontaneous
abortions, give oncologists an understanding of the rapid cell growth of cancer, allow the use of
stem cells to regenerate nerve tissues, and provide a huge boost to work on aging, genetics and
Banning human cloning research would impinge upon the rights of scientific inquiry and the rights
of procreation, while the fear that clones would be mindless drones is utterly false. If I cloned
myself, I would not create a cookie-cut replica. Instead, I would become the father of my identical
twin, and my twin would be influenced by such a wide array of different circumstances while
growing up, from uterus to grave, that he would be a separate entity in all respects. What
opponents really wonder is whether or not a clone would have a soul. If you want to know, make
one and ask!