Cloning is the process of creating a genetic duplicate of an individual. Since the February 1997 announcement of the birth of Dolly, a sheep cloned by Ian Wilmut, cloning research has increased considerably. Cloning humans has recently become much more of a possibility in society than it was years ago. Scientists are on the edge of a huge breakthrough in the field of human cloning, and society must ask itself whether or not it should be allowed. Many arguments can be made for and against human cloning, but since it is unethical and would take away individuality and disrupt social values, the practice of cloning humans is one that government should ban and society should not accept.
Proponents of human cloning may argue that it is just a logical and inevitable advance in science research and technology. It is, however, too risky for human subjects. At the present time, the general consensus of the public is against human cloning.
(Fitzgerald 37) Within a few years’ time, however, the medical possibilities of human cloning may be attractive enough to change public opinion. Research on human cloning would involve huge risks for the initial clones, because any experiments in human cloning would eventually have to be carried out on human beings. Human cloning is unethical because the risks of this practice greatly outweigh the benefits. The technique that produced Dolly the sheep was successful in only 1 of 277 attempts. If this technique were attempted in humans, it would risk miscarriages in the mother and severe developmental problems in the child. Standard medical practice would never allow the use of any drug or device with such little study and without much additional animal research. (National Bioethics Advisory Commission) The actual risks of physical harm to the cloned child cannot be certain without conducting experiments on human beings. This in itself is unethical because no one knows what will happen and the child is in danger because “one does not know what is going to happen, and one is^possibly leading to a child who could be disabled and have developmental difficulties.” (Professor John Robertson) Human cloning would violate a person’s individuality and take away a child’s identity. Cloned children would see themselves not as a person, but as an object that their parents could discard because of imperfection. A family is no longer a genuine family.
Children should be valued for who they are, not according to how closely thy meet their parents’ expectations. If a child were cloned, his life would already have been lived by another human being. Suppose a boy is cloned from a grandparent. The cloned child knows too much about himself because another person in the world is exactly like him. It is unfair for the earlier “twin” to determine the child’s life in this way. Imagine a world in which cloning is permitted and practiced. If people are able to pick and choose the human traits that they find desirable, it could very possibly lead to feelings of superiority that are often linked with racial injustice. (NBAC) This “genetic selection” was practiced by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party and the world saw the horrible effects of his desire to improve nature. Human cloning poses a huge risk to society and nature. It is unethical and unacceptable, inappropriate and intolerable. Society should not reduce itself to cloning of humans for its own benefit. Cloning would produce many more problems than improvements. The course of life should be left up to nature, the way it has been since the beginning of time. Opposing Viewpoints Series Biomedical Ethics — including: The Risks of Human Cloning Outweigh The Benefits-NBAC Cloning Research Would Not benefit Humans-Kevin T. Fitzgerald Cloning Would Violate A Person’s Individuality-Allen Verhey Includes the following: Jerry Adler “Clone Hype,”Newsweek, November 8, 1993 Sharon Begley “Little Lamb, Who Made Thee?” Newsweek, March 10, 1997 Chris Bull “Send in the Clones” Barry Came “The Prospect of Evil,” Maclean’s, March 10, 1997 Philip Elmer-Dewitt “Cloning: Where Do We Draw the Line?” Time Magazine Free Inquiry Special section on cloning humans, Summer 1997 Christine Gorman “To Ban or Not to Ban?” Time Magazine Hastings Center Report Response to the NBAC Report on human cloning, September/October 1997 Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal Special issue on the ethics of cloning human embryos, September 1994 Gina Kolata “Ethics Panel Recommends a Ban on Human Cloning,” New York Review of Books, October 23, 1997 R.C. Lewontin “The Confusion over Cloning,” New York Review of Books, October 23, 1997 David Masci “The Cloning Controversy,” CQ Researcher, May 9, 1997 Stephen G. Post “The Judeo-Christian Case Against Human Cloning,” America, June 21, 1997 Time Magazine Special report on cloning, March 10, 1997