Human Exceptionalism

South Korea May Change Its Human Cloning Tune

I hope this story has it right: Apparently in the wake of the Woo-suk Hwang scandal, South Korea is musing with outlawing all human cloning. Good. Cloning is immoral and an affront to human dignity. Moreover, once we start down the cloning road, the experiments would not long be restricted to cloned embryos in Petri dishes but would eventually lead to more radical–such as gestating cloned fetuses. (Live fetal experiments were performed in the 1970s, so there is a history of this kind of ugly research.) Beyond that, widespread cloning threatens women to exploitation for their eggs, as happened in Hwang’s own lab. And it would divert tremendous resources away from more urgent current needs and more promising therapies.

Moving into the anti-cloning camp would permit S. Korea to focus its prodigious scientific talent into non controversial areas of inquiry and to better police the experiments that are happening using human patients. Moreover, it would be in accord with the nearly 3-1 vote of the United Nations General Assembly that urged member states to prevent all human SCNT.

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