Bus 670: Legal Environment
Ethics in Action
Prof. Brandy Kreisler
May 7, 2012
In recent years, society has witnessed an explosion of medical and biotechnological advances. Medical procedures that were innovative only a few decades ago, such as organ transplants and in-vitro fertilization now seem ordinary and commonplace. More recently, scientists have been making significant discoveries in areas that once were relegated to the world of science fiction, including cloning and genetic engineering.
Many of these biomedical advances raise serious ethical questions. For example, successes in cloning animals have sparked such controversy over the imminent possibility of cloning humans that the United States government has placed a moratorium on federally funded research into human cloning. In ordering the ban, President Bill Clinton asserted, “Any discovery that touches upon human creation is not simply a matter of scientific inquiry. It is a matter of morality and spirituality as well.” (Haslam, H., 2005).
Opponents of human cloning fear that the procedure will be used in unethical ways. They argue, for instance, that a clone might be produced to serve as an “organ bank” for an individual in need of a transplant. According to Kevin T. Fitzgerald, a professor in molecular genetics, “Cloning a human being solely for the purpose of supplying organs or tissue makes it, at a minimum, a mere instrument for manipulation and negates the human identity of the clone.” (Haslam, H., 2005). Other critics maintain that the negation of human identity will be a factor even in clones that are created for more ethical reasons. They insist that cloned humans will suffer from the knowledge that they are “copies” of another person than unique individuals.
On the other hand, supporters of human cloning contend that the potential benefits of the procedure far outweigh the concerns expressed by critics. These advocates assert that cloning will provide hope to...