Friday, April 12, 2002

From Charles Murtaugh's open letter opposing a cloning ban:

In a country in which abortion is legal, and in which human ES cell research is widely supported, it seems ridiculous to deem cloned early embryos, which cannot develop outside the womb into anything more complex than a ball of cells, worthy of special legal protection. I hold this view in spite of the fact that I am not at all comfortable with our country's lax view on abortions, precisely because abortions are performed at much later and more complex stages of embryonic life. People who would conflate the destruction of a fetus with the destruction of a blastocyst-stage embryo are knowingly distorting the facts.

More importantly, those who consider an open door to embryo cloning as an invitation to cloned babies are neglecting the scientific facts.

Murtagh goes on to relate how difficult it would be for would-be reproductive cloners to hide their practice, since ther would be so many miscarriages.

But I don't really care about that. I care about Murtagh's reasoning -- since abortion and embryonic research are deemed OK, why not embryonic cloning? Ok, let's say the "thereaputic cloning" bogs down, and scientists decide that only reproductive cloning would generate the organs needed to deliver the cures promised. Is it not apparent that this reasoning could be used again to support this practice? We'd be asked: Is this distinction worth a young girl's life? We'd get another round of testimony from sick celebrities, and we'd cave in yet again. And the assault on preborn life would continue.

From a "right to life" persepctive, theraputic cloning is actually more troubling than reproductive cloning, since the "clone" is always destroyed. But we're fooling ourselves if we don't think we're opening the door to further abuses.
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