Even though some scientists favor human cloning, it is the banning of human cloning in the United States and other countries Germany and Switzerland has become the main issue of concern. This debate has become important after the birth of Dolly, the first cloned sheep. There is a contradiction of morality and personal beliefs, causing many discussions to become irrational and non-objective while other issues arise that cross borders — such as religion, science, and social concerns that effect universal morality. We have no observable or documented long-term results to support any stand nor do we have a large number of case studies. As there are strong conflicts over adult and embryonic stem cell research in the field of human body parts, it would be prudent to continue with the ban on human cloning till the it is proved that it will be beneficial to humanity.
Human cloning refers to a reproduction process that is not carried out sexually but which ensures that at all steps of development, the reproduced is almost indistinguishable from a presently living, or a past living human being. In other words human cloning refers to the development of a genetically matching copy of a person or even developing cloned body tissue from that person.
The history of present day cloning can be traced to 1902 and the German scientist Hans Spemann who separated a Salamander embryo in two and showed that early embryo cell retained all the genetic information required to create a new organism (Waite, G 2001). In 1928 he performed the first nuclear transfer experiment and in 1938 he transferred one cell’s nucleus into an egg without a nucleus (Waite, G 2001). In 1952 Briggs and King clone tadpoles and in1958 F.C. Steward developed whole carrot plants from carrot root cells. In 1969 Shapiero and Bechwith first isolated the first gene and in 1977 Karl Illmensee created mice with only one parent. In 1984 Steen Willadsen reported that he had made a genetic copy of a lamb using the twinning process (Waite, G 2001). In 1996, Dolly, the first animal cloned from adult cells is born and in March 1997, scientists use twinning to clone rhesus monkeys from embryos. In 1997 Richard Seed announced that he planned to clone a human being. In 2001 an Asian ox, cloned in the womb of a cow, died two days after its birth (Waite, G 2001).
In “Human Cloning” by author Rob Weekes (2000) and “Mohler Argues Human Cloning Should Be Banned” by Michael Foust (2001), the authors present two excellent views regarding human banning in their articles, they discuss the two sides of the argument while attempting to be objective so that the reader, can understand better what it is we want.
Robert Weekes (2000) states that there are more than one reason for human cloning — therapeutic, DNA, and reproductive cloning – all of which need to be fully understood before making a judgment. He feels that by allowing human cloning, many things will be effected, not just one. For example, the technique that produced Dolly required 277 embryos from which only one sheep was produced the others were hopelessly warped. Moreover, it rumored that a Korean doctor has already created a human clone and killed it. According to author Rob Weekes and his pro views, those who are against cloning feel it is unsafe and intervening in God’s plan for humanity. The priests of Jewish, Catholic and Moslem faiths have spoken against the process. The cloning process creates a wholly unnatural process of asexual reproduction. The “creation of a new and wholly unnatural process of asexual reproduction” is the act of playing God by our scientists, whose reproductive cloning does very little good for the family core, which is already in trouble. Cloning allows for reproduction even without the presence of the other parent. In most cases the unborn children will not have a normal family life, with only one parent to care for it, or two parents of the same sex. The other adverse effects are that the dignity of human beings will be lost, there will be an unbridled practice of eugenics and human beings will lose their sense of identity, individuality and diversity.
According to Weekes, arguments supporting cloning are that parents who are childless will eventually use this technology to get a child, that cloning is no different from any other medical technique, is compatible with the current trend of increasing number of children with single parents and that cloning is less dangerous than gene therapy and genetic testing. What these arguments presuppose is that the government can ascertain the intentions and the objectives of the scientists carrying out the cloning. This is not supported by evidence. Which government would have sanctioned the Korean scientist to produce a human clone and then kill him?
The life of the embryo will be started in a cold and unfeeling laboratory which will be hard to deal with – especially when the child’s most memorable thoughts and feelings occur during these early moments. Michael Foust (2001) in his article states that human cloning is “inherently wrong, has no ethical basis and should be banned by Congress”. With a 98% failure rate in animals, he feels that human cloning is considered unethical as human experiments, while stating that there will be a complete breakdown of medical ethics and human personhood if it goes on. Foust feels that cloning is similar to experiments on human beings in Nazi Germany. He feels that countries like UK that prescribe the destruction of the embryos after 10 days of life for use in stem cell research is even worse, with no thought of the lives involved in the destruction. The Catholic Church that has made it very clear that it considers that cloning is morally wrong. Foust feels that it is against medical ethics human identity and dignity. Some of his panelists however felt that cloning for therapeutic purposes would be acceptable. However, the assumption made by the panelists was that the diseases were incurable and had no alternative treatment. This is not supported by evidence.
A supporter of the human cloning, John Greeny (2002) in his article, “In Support of the Argument for Human Cloning,” feels that human cloning is acceptable and is important for the scientific work. That we need to use the cloning to study ourselves. The article states that till now nothing has been done to humanity to harm them through this practice of cloning. However, what Greeny ignores is that human cloning has great potential for misuse. Moreover, there are several other methods of studying ourselves. Even if humanity is ‘unharmed’ by the current practice does not guarantee that humanity will not be harmed in future. In Bob Weeke’s (2000) article he gives some support to cloning. His top of the list shows that cloning is no different than any other medical technology of today. He gives examples of countries are practicing embryonic studies and human cloning without any problems. He feels that the “spare” embryos could be used to do human research. ¬ During Foust’s (2001) interview, several panelists mentioned that they opposed reproduction cloning, yet would accept the therapeutic cloning. Mohler told the panelists that one or the other would be accepted.
In conclusion, even though human cloning may have the potential of contributing to scientific research and therapy, it is best that human cloning is banned. There are issues relating religion, identity and dignity that cannot be outbalanced by incremental scientific progress. Therapy has alternative means but the identity and self-respect of human beings are irreplaceable.
1 Foust, Michael. . “Moler, on TV panel, argues human cloning should be banned.”
BP News. [Online]. Retrieved on November 12, 2006 from
2 Greeney, John (2002) The Human Cloning Foundation:. . “In Support of the Argument for
Human Cloning.” Retrieved on November 12, 2006 from: http://www.humancloning.org/essays/john3.htm
3 Waite, G (2001) Support Human Cloning!, Retrieved on November 12, 2006 from: http://www.reproductivecloning.net/hosting//waite/
4 Weeks, Rob. . “Human Cloning”, Debate Topics and Debate Motions. Retrieved on November 12, 2006 from: http://www.idebate.org/debatabase/topic_details.php?topicID=26