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U.S. cloning ban stalls in Senate

An article in the New York Times ("Total Ban on Cloning Research Appears Dead", by S. Stolberg, 14 June 2002) reports that "A proposed [U.S.] ban on all human cloning experiments, a topic that has brought profound scientific and ethical questions to the forefront of President Bush's domestic agenda, is stalled in the Senate and appears dead, at least for this year."

3 Responses to “U.S. cloning ban stalls in Senate”

  1. Mr_Farlops Says:

    As long as the debate is vigorous–

    We are safe.

    The cloning debate will be soon replaced by other debates over similar issues–the new freedoms and risks created by new technology. Yesterday it was test tube babies and abortion, today it's cloning and genetically modified crops, tomorrow it will be designed children and insurance discrimination against those with natural genomes. The day after that will be rights for sapient artificial life and inheritance rights for those in cryonic biostasis.

    I don't think it's likely that the United States will turn into some sort of theocratic police state that will stop all scientific advance. There are just too many groups that will oppose this development. Besides, there are many other democratic countries in the world to take up the slack in scientific progress if any ban comes to pass.

  2. RobVirkus Says:

    Re:As long as the debate is vigorous–

    So allow everything? If is is new, do not interfere?

    Yes, we who exploit these new technologies, are safe to continue to do so.

    The point is that our benefit is always at some expense. Test tube babies, cloning and especially abortion always cost someone.

  3. Mr_Farlops Says:

    Re:As long as the debate is vigorous–

    I didn't mean to say "allow everything." The point I was trying to make is that as long as this issues are discussed and debated hopefully the best compromises will eventually be hammered out. Perhaps that's overly optimistic. We can all think of examples in the real world where stupid policy and stupid practices are passed or allowed–democracy is hardly perfect. But so far it's the best system we have.

    I agree that all benefits come with costs to someone or something. Technology has alway cut both ways. But I wanted to make the point that the problems always change. We invent some solution (by means of social change or advances in technology.) which obsoletes an old problem and in the process we create a new one. I think it's pretty safe to say that arbortion will eventually become irrelevent with continued improvements in sex education, the rights and duties of young adults (who is an adult versus who is still a child.) and contraceptives.

    Perhaps the day will come to pass when medical insurance companies will charge higher rates to parents who don't convince their children to take their monthly contraceptive shots. Of course these developments would raise a whole set of new controversies (Who can afford contraceptive shots? Who is child verses who is a responsible adult? etc. etc.) but it would probably obsolete the abortion issue.

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