Human Exceptionalism

OF COURSE Reproductive Cloning is on the Biotech Agenda

Nature (no link) says so: “Meanwhile, the main debate [over human cloning] still focuses on making cloned embryos for research. 1997 was just three years after the Washington Post declared that it would be ‘unconscionable’ to create embryos for research; and in 1997 itself the European Convention on Human Rights and Bioethics was opened for signature, which turns the the Post’s repugnance into international law by prohibiting signatories form creating embryos for research.

“In contrast, what has been universally deemed as unacceptable is the pursuit of human reproductive cloning – or the production of what some have called a delayed identical twin. Here, the two issues that have dominated the discussion have been dignity and safety. There is a consensus that dignity is not undermined if a human offspring is valued in its own right and not merely as a means to an end. But there is no consensus that we will eventually know enough about cloning for the risks of creating human clones to be so small as to be ethically acceptable.

“The debate may seem to have been pre-empted by prompt prohibition. But as the science of epigenetics and of development inevitably progresses, those for whom cloning is the only means to bypass sterility or genetic disease, say, will increasingly demand its use. Unless there is some unknown fundamental biological obstacle, and given wholly positive ethical motivations, human reproductive cloning is an eventual certainty.”

HT. Nigel Cameron

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