The practice of cloning can be used to benefit society and therefore should be legalized. Ever since the cloning of the first adult sheep, Dolly, the idea of cloning has become a major issue and the subject of many debates. Many people are afraid of the idea of cloning because it is new and misunderstood.
There is the notion that a clone would not be the same as any other person, but a clone is just a normal person, created with and having the same genes as the person being cloned. A clone will not be exactly the same as the original person. Because they will not have the same environment and experiences as the person from which they were cloned, a clone is more like a younger identical twin with a personality all of its own. There are also differences in mitochondria and uterine that make the person different (Robertson 3).
Cloning is not that far from procedures that are being done all the time, such as in vitro fertilization, where egg fertilization takes place in a lab and is then transferred to the uterus. In vitro fertilization usually requires the retrieval of many cells and can take several times to work if it does at all. It can also result in multiple pregnancies. Cloning is only another alternative to reproduction and unlike IVF, it takes very few cells and should work the first time with a single pregnancy making it a more efficient method of reproduction.
Some people argue against cloning because they think that it is a way of playing God. But in reality, doctors ‘play God’ every day. It is commonly accepted that we create babies in test tubes and take birth control pills to prevent them, so why not clone them too? Today in the United States, many fetuses are screened for genetic or chromosomal abnormalities, with the option of abortion for those with defects (Robertson 2). Is this not another way we ‘play God’, making decisions on whether or not this fetus will live based on whether or not it has a defect? Why not go a step further and instead of eliminating the baby, make sure that there will be no defect to worry about.
Also, because there are many benefits to cloning and since not everyone believes in a god why should religion be used in making decisions for people where religious morality is not even an issue? The beliefs of some people should not deprive others of the benefits of cloning. There are those with religious beliefs who think that taking antibiotics or receiving blood transfusions is wrong, but this does not stop the rest of the world from receiving the benefits from them. This is just another tool that can be used to our advantage, so why not do it if it can help improve the health of society? In the United States at least, there is supposed to be a separation of church and state, so anything having to do with God should play no part in law making. Religion and science are two totally different things. Science is based on experimentation and observation, while religion is based on faith and things that can not be proven. Making a law based on a religious belief goes against our Constitution.
Furthermore, because a human clone is and should be thought of as a regular human, they are entitled to have the same basic rights as everyone else. There should not be the creation of entire embryos for the harvesting of parts because this goes against the rights of the clone and treats is as less than human. But, with new technology scientists are finding ways to create entire separate organs and other tissues such as nerve or heart muscle cells without the creation of an entire person. These organs can be used for transplants and with scientists cloning organs from the own patient’s DNA, there should be no problem with immune rejection that can result with transplants from other sources. There is a large shortage in the number of organs available for transplants and continued research in cloning of this type could eliminate this problem (Cohen 1).
Cloning could be used to reverse heart attacks by cloning healthy heart cells and injecting them into the damaged areas. This technology could also be used to produce skin for burn victims, brain cells, spinal cords, livers, lungs, and any other organs needed. But this may never come about if there are laws prohibiting cloning and its research (Benefits 1).
Another benefit of cloning is that it can give couples who cannot reproduce a chance to have children who are biologically related to them, whereas they otherwise could not. This will also help those who are at a high risk for having a child with a genetic disease. They could clone one of themselves and have a healthy baby with their genes. This reproduction through cloning is close enough to other common reproduction and genetic-selection practices that it should not be treated any differently and given as an option (Robertson 1-3).
This is also an issue of concern to the gay and lesbian community because cloning would allow them to reproduce themselves and many want this right. There are cloning rights groups who say that the government should not be allowed to control a person’s reproductive rights and that your DNA is your own property and you should be allowed to do what you want with it (Nichols 1).
An example of a situation where cloning could be lifesaving is in a situation where a child is terminally ill and in need of a bone marrow transplant. Many times in a case like this, the parents of the sick child will decide to have another child hoping that it will match with the sick child. If the child were cloned, then there would be a perfect match available (Wachbriot 6-7).
Going a step further, with germ-line engineering, defective genes could be eliminated in children and also in their offspring, virtually eliminating many inherited diseases. Some scientists believe that this could lead to the engineering of people completely resistant to other diseases, like AIDS and cancer, making society happier and healthier. This concept could also be used to make babies who are smarter and stronger. Several polls show that as many as 20% of parents see nothing wrong with genetically altering their children for health reasons and this number will probably increase as society becomes more informed and used to this new idea (Taylor 2-8). This method is different from regular cloning which does not improve or change the genome, only duplicates it (Wachbroit 6).
Those who say that cloning and genetic engineering do not value human life are wrong because as you can see these processes can make life longer and better for many in our society.
Animals are currently being cloned, like cattle and sheep that have been genetically engineered to maximize desirable traits (Clones 1). Research is also being done on the cloning of endangered species and dead animals. Many people do support cloning and whether the government makes laws against it or not, it will most likely take place. There are numerous websites in favor of human cloning like the Human Cloning Foundation, a webpage with information about cloning and its benefits and links to other pro-cloning pages. Then there are people like Dr. Richard Seed, a Harvard graduate who made headlines in 1997 when he claimed that he was going to attempt to create a human clone and had willing participants. It was also reported to the associated press in August of 1998, that a wealthy couple had given over 2 million dollars to Texas A&M; University to have their dog cloned. This project is still in the workings though and it is not known if the doctors have actually began the process yet.
In conclusion, whether the government bans cloning or not, it is inevitably going to take place. The discovery has been made and curious scientists are not just going to leave it alone. Decisions on whether or not your own DNA is replicated should be an issue that is private and left up to individuals, not the government. Since cloning is going to happen anyway, the government should accept it and regulate it to try to see that it is used to benefit the most people.