Panayiotis Zavos, a global leader in assisted reproduction, told Congress last year that he, Italian physician Severino Antinori, and others would work with infertile couples to produce the world's first human clone by 2003. "Human cloning is around the corner," Zavos said. "The genie is out of the bottle." Zavos suggests that the world will hail the scientist who produces the initial human clone as a Neil Armstrong of the 21st century.
Renegade scientists and a handful of infertile couples are not the only cheerleaders for human cloning. Some biotech activists urge that cloning be included within a broader definition of human rights. Forty Nobel laureates anxiously proclaimed in April that a cloning ban would have a "chilling effect on all scientific research in the United States." Outspoken advocates for disease research and assorted Senators promote human cloning, but only if human embryonic clones are destroyed for their useful stem cells. Birth is never an option.
Reproductive cloning of a human being could happen sooner than we imagine, but Congress should never allow any form of cloning on American soil. As President Bush has said, "Advances in biomedical technology must never come at the expense of human conscience. Life is a creation, not a commodity."
Since the 1997 cloning of the sheep Dolly, Americans have become more opposed to cloning, especially for reproduction. Public opposition to cloning declines when this technology is hyped as a miracle therapy to cure myriad diseases.
In "therapeutic cloning," stem cells from an embryonic clone are transformed into specialized cells, which are introduced into a diseased organ to bring about the growth of new, healthy tissue.
Nonetheless, there are huge practical ...1
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