Essay about We Must Ban Therapeutic Human Cloning

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The Senate is considering a proposal to outlaw human cloning. Two alternative proposals would ban only "reproductive cloning," which would mean explicitly legalizing human cloning but not the implantation of a clone embryo into a womb. Pro-cloners are willing for the most part to outlaw reproductive cloning because it isn't safe, but they oppose a ban on cloning for research and experimentation--known as "therapeutic cloning"--arguing that such a cloning license is necessary to the development of future medical treatments for human ailments. This opposition to a ban on human therapeutic cloning is misinformed. The case against cloning, including therapeutic cloning, has mainly been argued on grounds of morality. Opponents…show more content…
Not only is human cloning immoral but it may have negative utility--in other words, attempting to develop human cloning technologies for therapeutic use may drain resources and personnel from more useful and practical therapies. To understand why therapeutic cloning fails the utility test, we must take a quick look at the significant difficulties facing embryonic stem cell research. Embryonic stem cell researchers hope to create medical treatments that would use undifferentiated cells--known generically as stem cells--extracted from 5-to-7-day-old embryos known as blastocysts. During natural gestation, these stem cells eventually "differentiate," that is, they transform into bone, neurons, muscle, organs, blood--indeed, all of the more than 200 different tissue types in the body. Researchers hope to learn how to harness this ability by extracting stem cells from embryos, transforming them into specific tissues, and then injecting the tissues into patients to treat medical ailments. In their enthusiasm for embryonic stem cells--and in an effort to assure ample funding for the research--some advocates have all but promised that such therapies are just around the corner. But that isn't even close to being true. Writing in the scientific research journal Stem Cells, editor in chief (and advocate of embryonic stem cell research) Curt I. Civin admitted that "scientists have exaggerated the immediacy of the prospects of clinical therapies

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