Human Dignity and Human Cloning

By Silja Vöneky; Rüdiger Wolfrum | Go to book overview

Does Cloning Violate the Basic Law's Guarantee
of Human Dignity?

Horst Dreier, Würzburg


I. Introduction

When considering whether cloning generally violates the guarantee of human dignity in Art. 1 (1) Basic Law, one must fundamentally differentiate between reproductive cloning - vividly referred to as “cloning to produce children” - and therapeutic cloning, also called “research cloning”. The goal of reproductive cloning is to bring about pregnancy and the subsequent birth of a human, who is genetically identical with the “original” (that is, the donor of the somatic cell). It is thus a matter of procreation through asexual means by producing a genetic copy of another human being. The goal of therapeutic cloning, in turn, is not the birth of a human, but the extraction of replacement tissue or replacement organs in order to heal serious, degenerative diseases (for example, brain and nerve disorders such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's). The designation “research cloning” thus appropriately indicates that medical application is still a long-term goal and that the immediate goal is to research the fundamentals. Due to the identical genetic structure, breeding tissue or organs by using cloning methods eliminates the otherwise notorious problem of immunological rejection.

Firstly, we will deal with the question of whether reproductive cloning is forbidden in Germany (section I). Thereafter therapeutic cloning will be examined more closely (section II). Questions concerning the interpretation of existing statutory rights are left aside, and the attention is instead given to a single question of constitutional law: whether the two

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