rates of morbidity and mortality in the cloning of other mammals, we believe that cloning-to-produce-children would be extremelyunsafe, and that attempts to produce a cloned child would be highly unethical.”64 The National Bioethics Advisory Commission reached a consensus in its objection to reproductive cloning “because current scientific information indicate[d] that this technique [was] not safe in humans....”65 The National Academies agrees with this line of reasoning, given that animal experimentation has demonstrated that “only a small percentage of attempts are successful,” “many of the clones die during gestation,” and “newborn clones are often abnormal, or die.”66 While these objections about safety are widely held, they may be temporary in nature. As research advances, it may become less risky, and thus some may find it less objectionable to attempt reproductive human cloning.
Unlike concerns about safety, other types of objections, while not so widely held, may be more lasting because they are not likely to be alleviated by scientific progress. These tend to be philosophical in nature. These concerns, listed in the following paragraphs, have been acknowledged by the President’s Council, NBAC, UCSSB, and the National Academies. According to the President’s Council, “[d]ifferent Council members give varying moral weight to [the following] different concerns.”67 Only the UCSSB found the concerns persuasive in total.
Identity. Some objections to reproductive cloning are based upon fears that cloned children will have difficulty with their identities “because each will be genetically virtually identical to a human being who has already lived and because the expectations for their lives may be shadowed by constant comparisons to the life of the ‘original.”’68 These concerns are dismissed by others, who point out that this argument rests largely on “the crudest genetic determinism.”69 They cite both the effect that environment plays on individual development, and the lack of difficulty with identity experienced by naturally occurring identical twins.70
Commodification. Other philosophical objections have to do with a fear that cloned children “might come to be considered more like products of a designed
President’s Council, Human Cloning, p. xxiii. National Bioethics Advisory Commission, Cloning Human Beings, June 1997, p. iii. Scientific and Medical Aspects of Human Reproductive Cloning (Washington: National
Academies Press, 2002),
report on human cloning is available at
[ h t t p : / / w w w . n a p . e d u / c a t a l o g / 1 0 2 8 5 . h t m l ? o n p i _ t o p n e w s _ 0 1 1 8 0 2 ] .
67 The number of Council members who give moral weight to each argument, and the amount of weight they give to each issue is not specified. President’s Council on Bioethics, Human Cloning and Human Dignity, July 2002, p. xxviii.
68 President’s Council on Bioethics, Human Cloning and Human Dignity, July 2002, p. xxviii.
69 National Bioethics Advisory Commission, Cloning Human Beings, June 1997, p. 65. Note: genetic determinism is the idea that a person’s identity and development are primarily or entirely the result of his or her genetic makeup. Genetic determinism is generally viewed as a flawed concept because of its failure to acknowledge the impact of environmental factors and the opportunity for individual choice.
70 President’s Council on Bioethics, Human Cloning and Human Dignity, July 2002, p. 103.