Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Regulate, don't ban, stem cell research

Those who oppose cloning for research do so because they want you to treat embryos as people. But since this position is impossible to defend they fall back again and again on the scare tactic that if cloning for research is allowed then human clones will be living in your neighborhood soon thereafter. And who knows what these human clones might do once they get a load of the neighborhood! If you think “Desperate Housewives” is a den of inequity, just wait until the clones set up shop on Wisteria Lane.

Making people by cloning them interests only the opponents of stem cell research, nuts, fruit balls and Hollywood film producers. If the prospect of a clone moving to your neighborhood really frightens you then urge the president and his political pals to pass a law forbidding human reproductive cloning. But don’t hold the science hostage. Having no rules at all except "don’t do any cloning for any reason" is neither ethically sensible nor, as the work in South Korea shows, practical. The best way to keep an eye on cloning is to regulate it rather than to hide behind the fig leaf that it has to be banned, lest it be used to make people.

From an excellent commentary by bioethicist Arthur Kaplan. I'd only add that embryos are created everyday in in vitro fertilization clinics which will never be used. Is that mass murder?


At 12:11 PM, Anonymous ollie said...

So you still think it better that "W" won?

Oh that's right; backing stem cell research (which could help millions) is not as important as filing a form in a timely manner. :-)


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