Morality Of Human Cloning Essay, Research Paper
Bioethics: Semester I Term Paper Sometime during February of 1997, a story first appeared on the evening news that many people did not pay attention to until much later — a team of scientists, led by Dr. Ian Wilmut, in the United Kingdom, cloned a sheep named Dolly. On December 9, 1998, almost 2 years from Ian Wilmut’s successful attempt at cloning, a story appeared on page A8 of the New York Times. A team of scientists in Japan, led by Dr. Yukio Tsunoda, cloned not one, but eight cows from the same adult cells. Gina Kolata, New York Times reporter, writes, “Suddenly cloning, which just two years ago had been thought biologically impossible, is looking entirely feasible, if not easy.” And then, shortly over a week later, the New York Times reported something from South Korea — scientists claim to have “cloned” a human. By cloning, they cloned cells that would grow into a fetus, but aborted it rather than implanting it into woman. They used the same technique that Dr. Wilmut used. The scientists theorized that had they implanted the cloned cells into the wall of the uterus, it would grow and evolve the same way that Dolly and the cows did. The moral situation presented, if it is not totally clear, is the morality of human cloning. When Dolly was cloned, she was just one in a number of hundreds of attempts, and while the cloning procedure is improving, it changes when you begin to think of the “attempts” as humans. If it took one-hundred-and-forty-three attempts to successfully clone the first human, that is one-hundred-and-forty-three lives that were killed. Many question the morality in that, and the main question comes down to — does the ends justify the means. Because the media sensationalizing the idea of cloning, many people have a distorted view of it. Dr. Steven Vere, a graduate of the University of California and the author of many articles concerning bioengineering, writes, “A clone is really just a time-delayed identical twin of the original animal cloned. Science fiction novels and movies have given people the impression that clones would be mindless zombies, Frankenstein monsters, or ‘doubles.’ This is all complete nonsense.” “A clone-twin will be decades younger than the original person. There is no danger of people confusing a clone-twin with the original person. Because of these differences, a clone is not a Xerox copy or ‘double’ of a person, just a much younger identical twin.” The possess used to clone Dolly or Bob (the name I have decided to give the cow’s from Japan) would most likely be the same possess used for human cloning (see attached sheets). There were 12 steps that were used in the cloning of the Bob’s. First, they took the primordial stem cells, then they add proteins to promote growth. After that, permanent embryonic stem cells develop. The nucleus of an unfertilized egg (oocyte) is removed, and then a cloned stem cell in introduced and fused with the oocyte. More proteins to promote growth are added to the new cell, and the cells multiply rapidly. Then the nucleus of another oocyte is removed, and clone stem cells are fused into it. The cloned cells multiple and develop for about seven days. They develop into an embryo, and the embryo is transferred into a female, establishing pregnancy. As far as the benefits of cloning go, Lisa Thompson, a graduate of NYU, currently doing her residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center, said “there has been a breakthrough with human cells. It may be possible to produce needed tissue for suffering people that will be free of rejection by their immune systems. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, heart failure, degenerative joint disease, and other problems may be made curable if human cloning technology are not banned.” She went on to talk about how cloning would help solve the mysteries that accompany many genetic diseases, as well as helping infertile couples having children without using a ‘third party donor.’ Becoming pregnant through cloning is one of the most talked about benefits. If a couple cannot conceive a child on their own, either through intercourse or one of in vitro fertilization methods, possibly because the woman has no viable eggs, they could have a child through the cloning method. The couple would clone one of the parents and then implant the cloned egg into a woman the same way an in vitro fertilized egg would be. The main benefit to this idea, other than the situation mentioned, with a woman having no viable eggs, is that this would be a much more successful way of impregnating a woman than the ones currently used, which are only about 10% successful (according to http://www.humancloning.org/benefits.htm). Another more controversial aspect of this is a woman cloning herself, and impregnating herself with her own clone — eliminating the need for a man in conception.
Another benefit if organ transplant. Someone with cancer could have themselves cloned, thus creating the perfect organ match for themselves if they ever needed a heart, or a kidney. However, this area clearly deals with the morality of human cloning and wether they would be considered human beings or not. If they are to be considered as human beings, then they should be entitled to all the rights that everyone else has — “inalienable rights” if you will. By receiving these rights, the clones would not be allowed to be used for the sole purpose of organ harvesting. This has been the subject of great debate across the country, and across the world. There is the pro-clone camp, which holds the belief that cloning if good, and the scientific benefits out weigh the possibility of misuse of cloning. There is the anti-clone camp who believes that cloning is not right, under any circumstances, because of the ethical violations and a “playing god” mentality. Then there is the camp that is on the fence. For the most part, they believe that cloning has the potential to be a very great thing, as long as human rights are observed. There have been a number of laws set up, involving cloning. Both Republicans and Democrats have proposed bills to the US Senate to control human cloning. The bill proposed by the Republicans, known as the Frisk-Bond Bill, sought to ban human cloning permanently. The bill proposed by the Democrats sought to “put a moratorium on the implantation of a cloned embryo into a woman’s uterus,” as Dr. Jerome P. Kassirer, editor for the New England Journal of Medicine wrote. In laymen’s terms, what the proposed Democratic bill is saying is that they want to make it illegal for a woman to impregnate herself with a cloned embryo. More recently, the United States has tried to place a ban human cloning, they have decided to stop all funding research projects and experiments to accomplish their goal, and has sought to make other country’s do so. At present, there is a great debate on wether they should legalize human cloning experiments in Great Britain. This is significant because the first documented clone, Dolly, was cloned in the United Kingdom. My personal opinion on cloning is influenced much by the books “The Deathstalker” series. The books take place hundreds of years into the future where cloning is common-place, to the point of clone marriages, but clones are treated as third class citizens. They have no rights, and are generally used as slave labor to work in places that are two hazardous for “human beings.” “Clones were kept strictly separate from real people. Beyond the barriers and the electric doors, clone country was stark and utilitarian. There were no rooms or living quarters. The clones lived in steel cages, and in pens, stacked together like some great battery farm. There wasn’t an inch of spare space, apart from the isle she was walking down. There was a powerful, almost overcoming, smell of bodies packed together. She was used to the stench of the hospital tents, but this was almost too much for even her. “As she passed the steel pens, faces came forward to watch her. Some were missing eyes, or ears, or noses. Some had no lower jaws, rotted away by the forces they worked with. They made quite, mewing sounds, like tortured kittens. Beatrice came to a halt in spite of herself — there was nothing she could do to help them.” (Simon R. Green, The Deathstalker Rebellion, pgs. 493 – 494) In that scene, Beatrice, a nun working in a hospital in the middle of a war, stumbled on the “clone quarters,” while being chased by a Jesuit Commando. That is the worse case scenario for what could happen if cloning became common place. So what do I believe? I believe that we should stop theorizing about how cloning may happen, and set up some type of laws so that when humans are finally cloned, there will be no question as to their rights and their humanity.