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Issues Raised by Human Cloning Research

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Issues Raised by Human Cloning Research by United States House of Representatives
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Nearly 80 years ago, Aldous Huxley wrote his literary masterpiece Brave New World. In that book he posited a future where genetic engineering is commonplace and human beings, aided by cloning, are mass produced. Controllers and predestinators replaced mothers and fathers. The words themselves considered smut. As the new authors of human life in an uncompromising search for human happiness and stability, the possibility of human individuality had been entirely jettisoned. For most of its 80 years, Brave New World could be seen as a disturbing work of science fiction. That is no longer the case. The possible cloning of human beings is now relegated to the world -- not relegated to the world of fiction. The question we must now ask is this: what should we do with this science? Several scientists claim that they are poised to take the fateful next step and actually produce a human clone. We in this subcommittee will focus not only on the scientific, but on the moral and ethical questions raised by the astonishing possibility that an exact copy of a human being might be cloned in the near future. Although federally funded human cloning research is prohibited, such privately funded research is not. In fact, no definitive Federal statute governs privately funded human cloning experiments. Experimentation in science has outpaced the law on the underlying issues raised by human cloning. The FDA has asserted that it has jurisdiction over human cloning, based on the Public Health Service Act and the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Is this a sufficient safeguard? Although there is no Federal ban on human cloning, a number of states, 26 other countries and the United Nations have seen the need to enact some form of ban on human cloning. But to craft a meaningful and reasonable statute that is both sound in its science and consistent with human dignity, the Congress needs to ask the hard questions posed by human cloning research. This committee has a responsibility to ask these difficult questions because we are dealing with the most profound of human responsibilities, the future of our species. The witnesses we have assembled represent a broad cross section of opinions and expertise on these complex issues. We will hear from experts in animal cloning research and bioethics, the FDA and the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, among others. We will also hear from controversial witnesses. We hope to learn from their testimony whether the projects they envision are credible scientifically. Other esteemed bodies can hold meetings and write reports and issue voluntary guidelines, but only the Congress can write the laws for our nation.
Release date NZ
June 1st, 2005
Country of Publication
United States
University Press of the Pacific
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