Ethical Issues of Human Cloning Solutions
The creation of a hereditarily indistinguishable replica of a human being is referred to as human cloning. It is commonly mistaken as the monozygotic numerous births or the replica of humans or animal cells or tissue. There are two main types of human cloning namely: duplicative cloning and curative cloning. Reproductive cloning is whereby cloned humans are made for those couples who are unable to procreate naturally while therapeutic cloning can be defined as cloning cells mainly from an adult for uses in medicine and transplants commonly done in research projects. There is also another third type of cloning referred to as replacement cloning which is a combination of both the duplicative and curative cloning. Human cloning started as early as the twentieth century but it began to be taken seriously by policy makers and scientists in the year 1960s. Their hard work bore fruits in May 2013 where a group of scientists came up with a report of successful human cloning. The process was a transfer from human fibroblasts to oocytes that resulted in viable embryos developing to the blastocyst stage. The embryonic stem cell was obtained from the blastocysts that would make it possible for therapeutic cloning. Human cloning may seem as a scientific achievement but it also has its disadvantages in socio-ethical nature as am going to discuss below in my research. For instance, a case where a female is the donor would end up being the genetic twin of the clone rather than being the mother thus confusing the hereditary and communal relationships mostly between the mother, child and other related kingship of the clone.
There are many ethics theories that have been used to explain the morals of human cloning. These theories include the deontological theory: Deontology comes from a Greek word Deon that means obligation duty and logia. Deontological ethics is therefore the normative ethical position that rules the morality of an action, which is normally based on the actions adherence to a rule or even rules. It is mainly described as duty or rule because a rule binds someone to whatever duty one is expected to do. Deontological ethics is mostly comparedto consequentialism, virtue ethics and pragmatic ethics. A great philosopher known as Immanuel Kant who argues that to act in a morally right way further elaborates this theory, ones acts must be pure. He goes ahead and says that an act must be good in itself even without qualification.
Kant also argues that for an act to be good in itself it has to be intrinsically good that is, the Consequences of an act of willing cannot be used to find out if a person has a good will. Good consequences can arise from a bad motivated action while bad consequences can arise from a well-motivated motive. He concludes by saying that the only good act in itself is that done out of good will and because it is someone’s duty that they have to accomplish.
Another theory am going to define is the Utilitarianism theory. This theory argues that an appropriate action maximizes utility and reduces suffering. This theory is associated with two great philosophers namely John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham. Stuart in his book Utilitarianism emphaseson Jesus Christ’s teaching that state that one should do unto others what you would love them to do unto you and to love ones neighbor as one would love oneself. According to Mill and Bentham utilitarianism is considered a good act when there is no negative impact on others due to the actiondone. Utilitarianism is also a normative ethical theory which focuses on the right and wrong on the implications of the chosen action or policy over other actions. It not only focuses on self-interests but on other people’s interest. Bentham in explaining his principle of utility, recognizes the significance of suffering and happiness in human life and says that they can be measured using the following criteria: Strength, certainty or uncertainty, period and either closeness or farness. Mill in tunewith Bentham’s principle claims that the quality of happiness more important than the quantity. Another theory that may explain the ethical problem to human cloning is virtue ethics that is normally associated with normative ethics. It was initially identified as the one that lies emphasizes on the virtues unlike deontology that emphasizes on duties or rules or consequentialism that emphasizes on the consequences. For instance in a situation whereby someone is in need and needs assistance, a deontologist will reason that in helping out will be in accordance with the rule that do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. A utilitarian on the other hand will point out to the fact that the motive of doing so will be of well-being while a virtue ethicist would reason out that helping a needy person would be helpful.
Virtue ethics is associated with the founding fathers Plato and more particularly Aristotle.
The concept of virtue clearly argues that it is the concept of something that makes the one who holds that virtue good. Continues to say that a virtuous person is a morally upright person, good and admirable person who feels well in doing what is right. Virtue ethics can be summarized in three terms namely: virtue, practical wisdom and eudemonia. Virtues such as honesty and generosity is a character trait which is embedded in its possessor unlike a habit such as taking coffee in the morning. These virtues do not work on their own but goes hand in hand with emotions and emotional reactions, values, desires, attitudes, expectations, choices, perceptions and sensibilities. Generally we know that good intentions are the intention or the will to do well or do the right thing. We can therefore say that practical wisdom is the understanding that enables its possessor to do what is right in any given situation. Being wise about human beings and human life is therefore a crucial part of practical wisdom. It goes without saying that the virtuous are always mindful of the consequences of possible actions.
The concept of eudemonia on the other hand can be translated as happiness or prosperous or even as well-being. Its translation has its own disadvantages since the word happiness is determined but oneself whereas the word prosperous has also other meanings contrary to what is been said. Although virtue ethics has grown it is still not clearly observable in the area of applied ethics. Another theory that cannot go unmentioned is the ethics of care theory. This theory is associated with normative ethical theory which explains what makes an action either true or incorrect. It is a normative theory that was established by feminists in the period of twentieth century. Unlike the deontological and consequentiality theories that put more emphasizes on universal standards, ethics of care mostly stress the significance of a feedback. Ethics of care does not approve the uses of worldwide standards and refers to them as morally problematic. This theory has its basic beliefs which include: all individuals are solemnly responsible in achieving their own interests; those who depend on our decisions and their consequence require extra care which depends on, the level in which they are vulnerable to ones choices and the level in which they are affected by their own decisions. Also be able to attend the background details of the situation so as to protect and uphold the interests of those who are involved. The founder of ethics of care was an American psychologist and ethicist who was called Carol Gilligan. She was a scholar of developmental psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg and she developed her moral theory to contrast her mentor’s theories, which were stages of moral development.
Gilligan came up with a difference feminist perspective where she said that men and women have different views on morality laying more emphasis on understanding and concern on the issues of morality. Ethics of care however differentiate from other ethical views namely utilitarianism theories and deontological theories. Another female psychologist by the name Joan Tronto claims that ethics of care is not clearly defined since it lacks a significant role it plays the in moral theory. Tronto in her research, states that there are four elements of care that include attentiveness which is important to the morals of care since care requires acknowledgement to respond to other needs. The question that she poses is what is the difference between unawareness and negligence? Another element is responsibility, which according to Trento differentiates it with obligation. She says that obligation in most cases refers to situations where a reaction or an action is owed such as a case in the legal agreement. Competence is another element of basic of care as given by Tronto. She said that one could not only recognize the need to care and accept the responsibility hence does not adhere to it without enough adequacies. The last element that she outlined was responsiveness. Tronto states that ‘Receptiveness indicates a significant ethical problem within care: naturally, care is more inclined to issues of equality and vulnerability.
Having defined all the theories, am now going to define what I understand by the term ethical issue and what it really is. An ethical issue could be defined as an issue where one is required to make a choice between what is either right or wrong based on certain principles. In areas of professionalism, ethical issue is whereby one is required to adhere to a certain set of rules or standards for good behavior in required situations. Bioengineering has turned a new leaf to science that people did not imagine before. It has also come with many debates among religious organizations especially the Catholic Church. They strongly oppose cloning be it in animals or humans because according to their religious belief life begins at conception between a male and a female. They also argue that life cannot be created artificially. The Catholic Church and other religious organizations also have controversies in therapeutic cloning as I mentioned earlier they only belief that life begins at conception by unity of a male and a female. They do not believe in destroying embryos and using them for research purposes. They say that once an embryo exists it should be treated as human being. While religious organizations advocate for criminalizing of cloning, bioethicist such as Gregory Pence argues that it is not wise to criminalize cloning in such a developed society. Another issue with cloning is concerning the use of cloning to produce meat. In 2006, the US government legalized the intake of meat from cloned animals an issue that raised questions and objections especially pertaining the risks involved in consuming ingested animal products. Despite all the arguments and controversies, raised specialists will continue to nature the developing world of science and the possibilities that science can offer them. According to Ray Kurzweil January 4 2003, states that cloning is an important technology for life extension. He goes ahead and says that therapeutic cloning of one’s own organs leads to creation of new tissues replacing the defective tissues or organs hence leads to extended replacements without undergoing surgery. He also says that cloning gives more opportunities in finding solutions for world hunger. Kurzweil among other responsible ethicists consider cloning even in this present time to be unethical not because cloning leads to manipulating human life, but because he considers that technology today is not reliable. Research has proven that the current technology of joining a nucleus cell from a donor to an egg cell using an electric spark can lead to high level of genetic errors. This accounts to the main reason why most fetuses created this way end up dying or having many genetic defects. These defects include having issues of obesity or most cloned animals end up having unpredictable health problems. However, scientists have formulated a number of ideas for perfecting the cloning process, which include alternative ways of joining the nucleus and the egg cell. However, this should be done when the technology is demonstrably safe otherwise, it would be unethical to go ahead and create a human life knowing that the likelihood of severe health problems would be high. Cloning is also considered as a very weak form of immorality. In my opinion, cloning is an advanced technology and done under perfected technology in terms of safety he ethical barriers will be eliminated. Why is cloning important? This probably the main question one is likely to ask oneself. Why should one go against the natural way of conception and end up creating life in a laboratory? Am going to answer this question by looking at the importance of cloning.
One of the most applications of cloning is improved breeding whereby one is able to reproduce an animal with the desirable set of genetic traits. For example a situation whereby an animal is reproduced from transgenic embryos that have foreign genes for pharmaceutical production purposes. This mostly applies whereby new anti-cancer treatments are an ant angiogenesis drug. Another interesting application is the recreation of animals from the endangered species. Through this cryopreserving cell from these species, these animals cannot become extinct. An example of this type of cloning of endangered species is the Tasmanian tiger that has been extinct for over sixty-five years. Another application is the therapeutic cloning of one’s owns organs. In this process, cloning is not done to the entire person but just direct creation of one’s organ. Cloning starts with germ line a cell that is differentiated thus leads to formation of a fetus. Differentiation takes place during the pre –fetal stage that is before implantation of a fetus, thus most ethicists believe that this process does not raise questions concerning the ethical issues.
Another promising approach is the called the human somatic cell engineering which overcomes fetal stems cells entirely. This technology creates new tissues with the recipient’s own DNA by modifying one type of cell into another directly with elimination of the use of fetal stem cells. An example of this technology is where scientists from US and Norway successfully converted directly human skill cells into immune system cells and nerve cells. Perfecting this cloning technology would not only be beneficial to the political and ethical issue but it would also be beneficial to the world of science. For example if one is in need of a pancreatic islet cells, kidney or even a whole new heart and does not need autoimmune reactions, one can confidently obtain one from her or his own DNA and not from someone else’s germ line cells. This process will enable one to obtain directly an organ from one’s genetic makeup. This also means that an 80- year-old man can have his heart replaced with his own 25-year- old heart. The problem of diabetes is also changing its face whereby the injection of pancreatic Islet cells is already promising in the treatment of type 1 diabetes. Even more fact that is interesting is where one can be able to replace one’s organ and tissues with their young telomere- extended replacements without surgery. This works in the sense that by introducing cloned telomere- extended cells into an organ, leads to these cells integrating themselves with the older cells.Another achievement of therapeutic cloning is being able to solve world hunger. This is done by creating meat without animals. One of the many achievements of this technology is that it will help in eliminating animal suffering. The managers of factory farming are less concerned with the comfort and life style of the animals. Therefore, with less meat there would be no animal suffering. It is therefore evident that cloning technology provides a plat form to replicate animals, organs and cells and that have some implications for health and the well-being of both the human race and the evolutionary species in the animal kingdom.
The legal situation concerning the human cloning issue varies between different countries. Laws against human cloning are however found in Germany, England, Norway, Denmark and Canada. France has also sounded a warning against anyone who attempts to clone a human being. In the United States, conversely human cloning is not illegal but there is a ban on the research leading to human cloning and has stated that there would be no federal funds used for embryo research. According to federal law, it states that if there is any clinic using cloning should be monitored. There are also measures taken to regulate the number of manipulations made to eggs and embryos. There are also actions taken to create public policy for human cloning which should be done in respect to the ethical issues of creating a newborn.
However if a lab cloned human being is identified, the FDA, would do nothing at first to prevent the clone from existing but probably would not take dramatic actions against the cloner. Instead, I assume that the FDA would pay a visit to the lab or the clinic and tell the people not to clone again but I guess by then it would be too late. Generally in most or the American states, there is no legal regulatory obstacle to human cloning.
In conclusion, I would recommend the use of utilitarianism theory when it comes to issues concerning the human cloning. This theory states that it is not the consequences of an act that determines if an act is right or wrong but its motive. For example if the cloner has good intentions while creating the clone that should be regarded as a good act regardless of what the clone turns out to be. However, this theory has its own demerits in the social settings since it will be challenging to determine the motive of a cloner if itis true or immoral. It is therefore the responsibility of each one in the society to hold good motives when dealing with human cloning issues.
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