Brent Waters, in discussing the ethical debate of stem cells and how scientists retrieve them, considers the most important aspect of the argument is not doing the research but how cells are obtained. He draws a distinct line between sacrificing human tissue to save human being but that an embryo is more than human tissue. If the embryo is a fellow human being, "we should not kill one person to save another" (Waters 78). He claims that human beings are "simply not available to cut into parts, no matter how useful" (78). Arguments stem from what people consider an embryo. Many admits that the embryo is more than tissue but not yet a person. If there is no distinction between the tissue commonly referred to as an embryo, then retrieving the human tissue should be able to be retrieved from another source. In other words, if the fetus tissue is not a human life and not "special," then we should look for other sources that foster cloning. Admitting the fetus is something other than tissue, removes the foundation for the argument that it is not life.
The evidence does not stop there. The Human Genome Project realizes the risks involved with human cloning are great. They report, "Physicians from the American Medical Association and scientists with the American Association for the Advancement of Science have issued formal public statements advising against human reproductive cloning" (HGP). Their site maintains, "Due to the inefficiency of animal cloning (only about 1 or 2 viable offspring for every 100 experiments) and the lack of understanding about reproductive cloning, many scientists and physicians strongly believe that it would be unethical to attempt to clone humans" (HGP). They even break the statistics down, claiming:
Not only do most attempts to clone mammals fail, about 30% of clones born alive are affected with 'large-offspring syndrome' and other debilitating conditions. Several cloned animals have died prematurely from infections and other complications. The same problems would be expected in human cloning. In addition, scientists do not know how cloning could impact mental development. While factors such as intellect and mood may not be as important for a cow or a mouse, they are crucial for the development of healthy humans. With so many unknowns concerning reproductive cloning, the attempt to clone humans at this time is considered potentially dangerous and ethically irresponsible. (HGP)
These statements explain why so much is wrong with human cloning.
We must also understand why people want to clone. Many view cloning as a contest to see who can reach the finish line first without seriously considering the repercussions. Some scientists simply want the notoriety involved with the process. For example, Richard Seed claims that "cloning and the reprogramming of DNA is the first serious step in becoming one with God" (Seed qtd, in Levine 123). This statement reinforces man's egocentric attitude and his willingness to overlook risks to achieve some sort of perceived greatness. There is nothing wrong with wanting to succeed in life but some individuals involved with cloning are wanting to do it for their own good and not the good of anyone else -- including the cloned being. Such arrogance should not be tolerated in the arena of cloning because the risks are too great.
Let us face it, the idea of human cloning is romantic and mystical and we look at the process as something great and magnificent. However, when we allow ourselves to look at the issue through rose-colored glasses, we are missing the most critical aspects, which are darker and more debilitating. The failure rate of the process is so high that it makes no sense to conduct experiments because the amount of eggs needed would be too great to meet the needs of all who wanted to clone a human being for one reason or another. In addition, we must think of what it means to clone. We must also consider the cloned individual and what they be feeling and experiencing as such. Finally, we must ask why. Human cloning is not essentially necessary for medical breakthroughs. Those racing to the finish line are probably more concerned with their legacy than they are with the human being that is cloned, which should never be overlooked by those curious about the issue. As Bush said, "As we seek what is possible, we must always ask what is right, and we must not forget that even the most noble ends do not justify any means" (Bush). The most important thing to do in cases like this is the right thing to do. Halt human cloning before it destroys life in ways that we cannot imagine.
Bush, George. "Both Human Reproductive Cloning and Therapeutic Cloning Should Be Banned." Contemporary Issues Companion: Cloning. 2006. GALE Resource Database.
Information Retrieved April 26, 2009.
Human Genome Project. National Institute of Health Online. Information Retrieved April 26,