RE: US bill to ban all forms of human cloning

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Mon Apr 30 2001 - 00:20:43 MDT

I believe this article:
extracted from this Nanodot discussion:
makes it questionable whether the U.S. government has the
power granted by the constitution to criminalize human
cloning. [I'd be interested in Greg's opinion on this.]

Now whether or not anyone would ever see fit to challenge
the law or whether our silly supreme court would find some
reason to not take the case (or worse yet extended the
constitution to allow the law) remain areas for speculation.
(It isn't clear from the analysis whether individual states
have the power to criminalize human cloning, I suspect it
may depend upon individual state constitutions.)

But I'm strongly of the opinion that extended discussion or
worry about these topics by extropians may be a waste of
effort. It looks like the laws are coming down along the
lines of -- "allow stem cell research" but "ban making
human twins of different ages". I think the "banning"
aspect may be a "reasonable" bone to throw to the luddites.
It will make them think they got something which in fact is
virtually nothing from our perspective. Contrast that with
the scenario where if the first human clone turned out to
be a genetic misfit due to mutations in the cloning or
development process. Then you might see a backlash that
would actually roll back NIH funding. You *do not* want
that. NIH funding is going to be edging up to around
$20 billion soon and is somewhere in the middle of a ~5
year doubling track.

There is *no* benefit that I can see to "childless" couples
that to my mind justifies putting that trend at risk.
In fact, one can make a "reasonable" argument that
postponing having *any* children for the next 5-10 years
makes sense as you will be bringing them into a more
biotech/nanotech enabled world. If you know that in 5-10
years, you will be able to genetically select children
based on intelligence you can make a strong argument that
any "natural" children (clones or not) are going to be
at a distinct environmental disadvantage growing up
and as young adults, and thus having 'naturals' now may
be viewed as 'intentionally' handicapping your children.

So I personally don't see laws against the "cloning" of
human babies as really relevant. Since I'd bet we get
designer babies in ~10 years and its going to be
difficult to prevent couples from "ordering" one from
someplace in the world, I think the perspective of the
anti-cloners is going to suffer a rapid but noisy death.


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