Re: Cloning given the kook treatment.

Date: Thu Mar 29 2001 - 13:15:23 MST

In a message dated 3/29/01 10:58:59 AM, writes:

>Oh of course, I'm thinking more along the lines of Dr. Moreau.... ;) The
>problems can't be fixed unless research is allowed. All the US
>legislation (and in other developed countries) is doing is ensuring that
>the test subjects will be third worlders, under no legal protections...

Research needs to be done, but it needs to be done on primates. The catch
of restricting research, of course, is people who currently want cloning,
such as infertile couples, but may be too old to raise a child by the time
it's low-risk for people.

One important ethical point, in relation to the infertile, is that our society
*absolutely* allows reproduction that puts the fetus at great risk, as
long as it's the only option for the parents. Tay-Sachs or cystic fibrosis
carrier couples can have children, even though they have a 1/4 risk of
producing a child with defects far worse than what have come from
cloning. Huntingdon's carriers can reproduce with a 50% risk of a very
nasty disease. Couples with serious fertility problems are downright
encouraged to keep trying, even after multiple miscarriages show another
is a virtual certainty. Even when risk is avoidable - such as fetal alcohol
syndrome - punishment is rare and severe punishment absent.

If fetal risk requires barring cloning even for infertile couples, integrity
requires we shut down most infertility treatment and unleash the hounds of
eugenics on carriers. I don't want to do that, and I hope most other people
don't either. Unfortunately, Congress isn't know for ethical integrity.
It is unnerving, though, that this ban would provide future precedent for
eugenics legislation. The basic principle: that Congress may legislate
reproduction for the purpose of protecting good genetics, is the founding
principle of coercive eugenics.

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