Over at my biweekly First Things column, I urge that laws be passed outlawing all human cloning. Cloning, by the way, is the act of creating an embryo through asexual means such as somatic cell nuclear transfer (which I explain in the article). It is not the birth of a cloned baby. That is one potential use of the “product of SCNT” as it is sometimes called to dehumanize the nascent human life a cloned embryo is, and to pretend that scientists aren’t really manufacturing human life for the purpose of destroying and harvesting it — when that is precisely the point.
I quote from a splendid Charles Krauthammer column, published in The New Republic, declaring his opposition to human cloning. Krauthammer, many will recall, supported embryonic-stem-cell research to a limited degree. He also wrested with these matters as a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics. Now that human cloning has been accomplished, I thought his wisdom from eleven years ago was worth sharing. From “A Secular Argument Against Research Cloning“:
It is the ultimate in desensitization . . . The problem, one could almost say, is not what cloning does to the embryo, but what it does to us . . . Creating a human embryo just so it can be used and then destroyed undermines the very foundation of the moral prudence that informs the entire enterprise of genetic research: the idea that, while a human embryo may not be a person, it is not nothing. Because if it is nothing, then everything is permitted. And if everything is permitted, then there are no fences, no safeguards, no bottom.
Indeed. That is why there is a campaign afoot to convince us that the human cloning the scientists accomplished wasn’t really human cloning — an obfuscation I have been tracking
Here’s a link to my piece for anyone interested.