Human Exceptionalism

Brave New Britain: You Can Be Cloned Without Consent in the UK

This is just unbelievable, or better stated given the UK’s history in this field, it is all too believable. At the last minute, the Parliament in the UK added a provision to its omnibus embryo bill–that among other things permits human/animal hybrid cloned embryos to be manufactured–that if the bill passes into law as expected, permits the DNA of people to be used to clone embryos without consent. From a column about the story:

How would you feel if your DNA were used without your permission to produce cloned human embryos for medical research? Regardless of whether it is right or wrong to experiment on human embryos, creating them would require either giving women high doses of drugs with unknown side effects to produce the large numbers of eggs needed for cloning research, or the placing of your genes inside cows’ or pigs’ eggs to produce human-animal hybrid embryos.

So you might well expect to be asked to give your explicit permission before such a morally fraught procedure is carried out using your tissue, but the government doesn’t see the need for this. At virtually the last minute, ministers added amendments to the human fertilisation and embryology bill which will receive its final vote in the Commons today, that will allow researchers to use the DNA of tissue donated anonymously in the past to create cloned human embryos. Other amendments would permit the genes of children or of mentally incapacitated adults to be used in similar ways.

The UK’s Parliament should have a slogan–what the scientists want, the scientists get. Not surprising in a country where its biomedical ethics are dominated by naked utilitarianism, such as the Orwellian-named National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), that pushes health care rationing, futile care theory, and etc. This is just the latest example.