William P. Cheshire et Al., Stem Cell Research: Why Medicine Should Reject Human Cloning

Issues in Law & Medicine, Fall 2003 | Go to article overview

William P. Cheshire et Al., Stem Cell Research: Why Medicine Should Reject Human Cloning


78 MAYO CLINIC PROC. 1010 (2003).

A ban on human cloning for both research and reproductive purposes would be the most effective and ethically responsible safeguard against the birth of human beings via cloning. Once human embryos were developed to the stage at which stem cells are present, a primary objective of research cloning, they would also be suitable for implantation. Then, the birth of cloned human embryos would be only a short step away; once a cloned human embryo was implanted in a woman's body, no responsible public policy would mandate termination of the pregnancy.

Advocates of a less than comprehensive ban may respond to the preceding arguments by pointing out that all legal bans function imperfectly. Although it is of course true that no law functions perfectly, a society serious about prohibiting a certain act should adopt laws that will reduce, to the greatest extent possible, the likelihood of that act occurring. Although a comprehensive ban on human cloning may indeed fail to prevent all instance of reproductive cloning, prohibiting not only the implantation but also the creation of cloned human embryos would prove to be a far more effective mechanism for securing a society free from reproductive cloning. …

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