This is why we must ban all cloning, both reproductive cloning and so-called “therapeutic” cloning. An American scientist claims that he has made several attempts to create a cloned human being and bring him to term.
Although the cloning attempt failed badly, scientists said the level of technical detail in the paper raises the prospect that Dr. Panayiotis Zavos of Lexington, Ky., could eventually succeed in creating the world’s first baby that is genetically identical to its parent.
Now, although there is broad criticism of Zavos, even from cloning and embryonic stem-cell researchers, their criticism is based on the wrong premises.
Most cloning and ESCR scientists make a distinction between reproductive and therapeutic cloning. The former is a type of cloning that would bring a cloned human being to full-term and allow him to be born. Most support legislation banning this activity. However, therapeutic cloning would allow a cloned embryonic unborn child to be conceived, but kills the child as an embryo in order to harvest his cells for research. This is a type of cloning they want to keep legal, but really, which is the worse action?
Zavos contends that he used the same technology as these stem cell researchers, but then placed the cloned embryo into a woman in an attempt to create a child. The Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk , a critic of embryonic stem cell research, said that the paper points to the danger of allowing therapeutic cloning when reproductive cloning uses the same technology.
“The idea that we can just have therapeutic cloning is perhaps a bit naïve,” said Pacholczyk , director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia.
While Zavos has been traveling outside the US for his controversial research, we still need laws to ban cloning, all human cloning.
The problems seen by most scientists are not the same seen by Catholics. For scientists, the problem is that reproductive cloning is unstable and the children would probably be born with massive defects. It’s likely that if the bugs could be worked out of the process, their objections would go away. But the Church’s opposition is based on the dignity of every human being as well as the sacredness of sex. You cannot and should not treat human beings as mere utilitarian units of production, nor should you divorce reproduction from the marital relationship, in which God allows a man and a woman—in a bond of love—to be co-creators with Him of life.
Incidentally, read the article and look closely for all the ways that the newspaper avoids using “loaded” terms like baby, mother, child, birth, and so on. It’s all so euphemistic and sterile. We wouldn’t want to create an emotional reaction that would backfire against embryonic stem-cell research and “therapeutic” cloning.
bk_keywords:cloning, embryonic stem cells.