Should Congress Ban Embryonic Cloning? August 2002

1100 words - 5 pages

Scientist are now able to clone human embryos. There are basically two ways to look at this issue: as a medical procedure with the potential to save and create lives or as medical experiments on developing human beings that may harm or end their lives. Cloning, whether for therapeutic or reproductive reasons is a very controversial and complex issue.Scientist in favor of allowing the cloning of human embryos argue that is a new source of stem cells that could be used to treat previously untreatable diseases. Stem cells are master cells that have the potential to turn into any type of cell in the body. Theoretically, if the persons own DNA was used to make an embryo, stem cells could be ...view middle of the document...

Private industry that does not use federal funding is immune to the presidents ruling. The ruling will make the federal government fall far behind the private sector in stem cell research.Another issue brought about by the ability to clone human embryos is: Should cloned embryos be used for reproduction? Does Congress have the right to restrict reproductive rights? Creating a clone people argue is reproduction and if someone wants to reproduce, the federal government has no rights to stop him. At a hearing before a subcommittee of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee in March 2001, Mark Eibert, a California attorney argued that a Supreme Court decision banning the forced sterilization of prison inmates (Skinner vs. Oklahoma (1942) asserts a constitutional right to "have offspring." The case he says "means that anyone who attempts to ban cloning will have to explain to the courts why infertile people should have less of a right to have children and families than criminals do. For infertile people who cant have children any other way, anti-cloning laws are the practical equivalent of forced sterilization." Those against embryonic cloning argue that in the case of Cary vs. Population Services International (1977) the Supreme Court ruled that reproductive activities may be limited by the government if there is a compelling state interest for doing so.The destruction of embryos in the cloning process is inevitable. A pro-life argument against cloning is that a cloned embryo is a reproduced human and has protection under Fifth Amendment. Pro-choice groups are arguing that if embryonic cloning is banned it is like saying to sick or injured people that a clump of cells is more important than a human being.Cloned animals have a high incidence of disabilities. Dr. Lanza, a scientist working for ACT, who has been using therapeutic cloning in experiments to give cows brand new immune systems, has cloned 50 cows states that "4 or 5 cows are absolutely normal." Those against the use of cloning for reproductive purposes bring up the issue of potential public responsibility for the upbringing and...

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