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The Ethical Debate Concerning Cloning Essay

9513 words - 38 pages

The Ethical Debate Concerning Cloning
In the year that has elapsed since the announcement of Dolly's birth,
there has been much discussion of the ethical implications of cloning
humans. Although the simple use of the word "clone" may have negative
connotations, many people have resigned themselves to the idea of
cloning cows that produce more milk or using a cloned mouse for use in
controlled experimentation. However, the idea of cloning humans is a
highly charged topic. Several authors have attempted to outline some
of the ethical objections to cloning while at the same time minimizing
the role religion plays in this debate. The objections posed by Leon
Kass and James Q. Wilson provide basic arguments that deserve
consideration.

Kass outlines the possibility of clones through the idea that cloning
is neither inherently good nor bad in its process but that can be used
to produce both good and bad results. Kass outlines three general
contexts in which cloning is discussed. First he looks at the outcome
of cloning on the child. One main objection to cloning is that it will
naturally force parents to treat their new child differently than they
would one that is born through sexual union. Technically the process
of reproduction would have been different, but Kass sees no reason why
parents would follow this process for producing a child unless they
truly wanted it. This argument is generally used to warn others of the
potential social harms that a child might face. A child that is born
from cloning will be different from other children in the way he or
she was created as well as in the fact that he or she will have the
same genetic structure as someone else already living. This child may
be faced with social pressures that he or she will have to deal with.

A second argument for cloning starts with the idea of reproductive
rights. This liberal view holds that every individual is entitled to
the right to have a child as long as the child born is unharmed. Some
philosophers point out that when talking about rights it is necessary
to discern from whom these rights should come. This question is
difficult to answer because it either assumes natural, God-given
rights or requires that the state ensure the right to reproduce or
both. A third view says that cloning will provide for the possibility
of improvement by giving birth to children who are free of birth
defects, because when any two people create a child through sex there
is the possibility for genetic defects. However, since clones are the
exact replicas of someone already alive, their genetic dispositions
will have already surfaced.

Kass' response is these three contexts are that they are all too
passive. They ignore the value of the process of bringing forth new
life and...

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