Human Exceptionalism

Bioethicists Promoting Reproductive Cloning

I like Bio Edge, which scours the world for cutting edge biotech and bioethics stories, which are adeptly summarized and sent to subscribers via e-mail. The writers generally get things right, but this Bio Edge story is both behind the times and factually wrong. It states that bioethicists are beginning to support reproductive cloning, once it is safe, and they give one example–as if this kind of advocacy were something new. But many bioethicists have long supported safe reproductive cloning as part of the fundamental right to procreate that supposedly exists in the Constitution and is seen as guaranteeing us all the right to have babies by any means necessary.

The Bio Edge story also states, “Without a single exception, responsible stem sell scientists are outspoken foes of reproductive cloning,” and that they want it banned. But as I pointed out a bit ago in the Daily Standard, Ian Wilmut, the creator of Dolly and currently doing human therapeutic cloning research in the UK, has come out in favor of reproductive cloning, again assuming safety. Wilmut is not only a “responsible” stem cell scientists, he may be the world’s preeminent stem cell researcher with the possible exception of Woo-Suk Hwang, the creator of the first human clones.

In my experience in debating these issues, there is no light separating the scientists and the bioethicists on the issue of reproductive cloning. Many also see genetic engineering of progeny as a part of the fundamental right to procreate.

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