Cloning: The Dire Moral Implications

Essay by spllbnd10University, Bachelor'sA+, September 2004

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Both possible outcomes of human cloning--the production of clones that will be allowed to live and to join society as well as the production of "terminal" clones for the purposes of scientific experimentation and/or the farming of parts--have serious moral implications that must be considered before decisions about the future of cloning are made. In the first case, many of these produced, rather than parented, clones will likely be destined for the adoption/foster care system already overburdened with over half a million parentless children in the U.S. alone. To create these new clones, then, is morally problematic for the ways it creates the potential for their own suffering in institutions, adds to the suffering of the already parentless children with whom these clones will compete for loving homes, and more broadly, promises to bring to a head the worldwide problems of overpopulation under which we all suffer. Beyond these more practical moral considerations, the very possibility of producing cloned people threatens to call into question the very definitions of humanity that are the foundation for our special respect for human life above all others.*

Grounding this last point is the fact that the second possible outcome of human clones, to create them solely for their utility for scientific and medical purposes, is only possible if one views humans produced through cloning as less deserving of human rights protections than those granted humans produced without this technology. The moral implications of the possibility of producing such clones are especially dire. In thinking about the moral implications of producing these clones, it would be worthwhile to consider the parallels between their potential situation and the actual situation of "terminal" animals produced solely for consumption or experimentation. Throughout history in most civilizations in the world and increasingly in this country people have...