Ethical and Legal Implications of Cloning and Stem Cell Research

Ethical Implications

Ethical and social issues are bound to arise to some extent in any scientific research because the outcome of the research is expected to affect the living of the people (Stem Cell Research). Even though the study of adult and cold blood stem cells is not objected to on any moral grounds, since the research on the embryonic stem cells needs destruction of early-stage embryos (referred to as blastocycts) is opposed to unethical (ISCID). This is claimed to be unethical based on the belief that life begins exactly at the point of conception and using the amount of embryonic cells to prevent the birth of potential human beings. “Some faith communities view embryos and fetuses as morally equivalent entities and reject in principle any intervention that may harm them” (Shanner)

The primary purpose of cloning is to provide a couple with a biological child in cases where the couple is otherwise unable to have one. Cloning constitutes unethical experimentation on the fetus, which may potentially turn into a child. Cloning subjects the fetus to experiments, which may cause bodily and developmental abnormalities. It amounts to threatening human individuality, deliberately making the clone to possess the genetic makeup of a person who already existed physically in the world. Cloning has the potential risk of converting the bodies of females as a commodity to be sold for research purposes.

Women will be encouraged to undergo risky medical and clinical research treatments to produce a number of eggs needed for continued research in the field of cloning. Society will be subjected to an abnormality with the creation of clones for convenience, to give the humans spare bodies as replacements, and children will be engineered to fit the proposed development of human species having only desirable genetic characteristics (Cloning Information).

Federal and State Legislations

Pattinson and Caulfield argue that few areas of regulation governing cloning and cloning research are driven by ethical considerations. Even the existing regulatory measures are not fully based on a thoughtful exposition of all ethical principles underlying the phenomena of cloning research. The authors claim, “Policy statements frequently rely on claims that are tautologous, under specified, poorly considered, or a combination of these things” (Pattinson and Caulfield).

Current Federal regulations prohibit the funding of research in human cloning. This has the effect of preventing such research from taking place in public and private institutions including various universities that get federal funding. However, there are no Federal laws in existence, which prohibit cloning completely and any law in this direction is likely to raise constitutional questions (Nation Master).

Several states have passed their own bills for regulating embryonic research leading to human cloning. California has passed a law on stem cell research in September 2002. The policy enunciated by the State shall allow the research on “human embryonic stem cells, human embryonic germ cells, and human adult stem cells from any source, including somatic cell nuclear transplantation”. However, this research shall be conducted subject to full consideration of the ethical and medical implications of this research and such research needs to be reviewed by an approved reviewed board consisting of members from recognized institution (State Bills on Human Cloning).

Most of the other States have enacted laws more or less based on the policies and principles of Californian Law. While some of the laws prohibit both reproductive and therapeutic cloning, some of them have outlawed only reproductive cloning (Nation Master).

Works Cited

CloningInformation. The Views of the United States on the Science and ethical implications of Human Cloning. 2009. Web.

ISCID. Ethical Implication of Stem Cell Research. 2009. Web.

NationMaster. Human Cloning. 2009. Web.

Pattinson, Shaun D and Timothy Caulfield. “Variations and voids: the regulation of human cloning around the world.” BMC Medical Ethics 5.9 (2004).

Shanner, Laura. “Stem Cell Terminology: Practical, Theological and Ethical Implications.” Health Law Review 11 (2005): 62-66.

State Bills on Human Cloning. Recent State Cloning Bills: taking Cloned Embroys into the fetal or new born stage. 2003. Web.

Stem Cell Research. Ethical Considerations in Stem Cell Research. 2009. Web.

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