Since the cloning of Dolly the sheep, et al., and the predictions about human cloning which subsequently followed, the world's collective mind has been reeling. "The media and public reaction to proposals about the creation of headless human clones for organ parts and Chicago physicist Dr. Richard Seed's statements that he will soon clone human beings demonstrates that our society is far from ready to grapple with the hard moral questions raised by human cloning," states Arthur L. Caplan, PhD, Director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. "But cloning does not pose a major threat to the community or the public health." Caplan will present his views today at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Philadelphia.
According to Dr. Caplan the major reasons for not making clones have nothing to do with technology that may ?run amok;' rather, the moral issues raised by cloning pertain to those who are cloned. The safety of the procedure; the imposition of limits on what the clone can be and become in society and the emotional burden that cloning places on the clone are the primary issues. These issues combined with the issue of imposing knowledge about the clone's biological fate without the prior, informed consent of the clone demand attention before any additional thought is given to pursuing cloning technology.
Editor's note: Dr. Caplan can be reached by calling 215-898-7136 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org