human cloning1



Human cloning has become a hot topic for debate. As we progressed one step closer to successfully cloning and developing a human being, legislators and the general public have become more concerned about the ethical and moral implications of this procedure. The federal government has been unsuccessful in reaching an agreement as to what policy to pass and enact. Thus, any current legislation on human cloning has been developed and enforced by individual states. The state of California is one of the few states in the United States that has a policy on human cloning. Human cloning is banned in the state of California. Because current policy does not allow for any human cloning to take place, many research projects have come to a standstill. Scientists have still been able to carry out certain cloning procedures that may not be viewed as ethical by the general public as a result of loopholes in current legislation. It is recommended that the current policy in place be revised to eliminate these loopholes and rewritten to permit human cloning to take place to generate the tissue and cells needed for therapeutic development and research to take place. The ban on human cloning should only apply when the procedure is used for reproductive purposes because current research has shown that it is not safe to use in humans at this time(Appendix A.1). With proper restrictions and guidelines in place, society stands to gain many benefits through permitting human cloning for the purpose of research. DRAFT April 17, 1999 M E M O R A N D U M TO: California State Legislators and Governor Gray Davis DATE: April 17, 1999 SUBJECT: Recommendation that the state of California continues its ban on human cloning but revise the current policy to permit human cloning for research. BACKGROUND On July 5, 1996, researchers in Scotland made history when they announced the birth of Dolly, the world\'s first successful cloning of a sheep (Appendix A.1). The world was shocked. The ability to reproduce human beings without sexual reproduction was no longer only an idea to be explored in sci-fi movies and books. After over forty years of research and development, human cloning is quickly becoming a reality. The basic technique used to clone humans and animals, somatic-cell nuclear transfer, involves the insertion of DNA from a somatic cell into an egg which has had its nucleus removed (Appendix A.2). The egg begins to divide and develop into an embryo which is implanted into the uterus of a surrogate female, where it is carried to term and delivered(Appendix A.3). A clone is genetically identical to the person or animal who provided the somatic cell that provided the DNA. Much of the new laws being drafted to prevent human cloning have yet to be enacted or reviewed by Congress. There has been much debate between the Democrats and Republicans on this issue. Problems with ethical concerns over human cloning play a very large role in hindering the adoption of various legislation. Anti-abortion organizations have entered the debate by voicing their opinions about human cloning and research. They claim that by allowing research to take place on human embryos, Congress would be giving approval for the destruction of life(Appendix A.4). Would we, in fact, be devaluing life by creating, experimenting and killing human embryos for the purpose of research?(Appendix A.5) There has also been concern over the rights of a human clone. Issues have been raised about the "individuality, autonomy, objectification, and kinship of the resulting children" (Appendix A.6). Because the clone would be identical genetically and phenotypically to a person who currently exists or did exist in the past, he or she may be expected to follow in the footsteps of the DNA donor. This would take away any individuality and autonomy that would normally be experienced by an individual conceived sexually. Objectification becomes a matter of concern because of the way in which the clone is produced or "conceived". The clone is not produced sexually but through asexual scientific means. Although in vitro fertilization involves the fertilization of the egg in a petri dish or test tube, the involvement of sperm makes it sexual and thus, more "normal" and acceptable than the cloning procedure. With kinship, there