To Clone or Not to Clone: Take a Poll?

June 15, 2011 09:00 AM

Sometimes Gallup polls strike me the wrong way. One of the most recent, entitled “Cloning Still Unpopular: Gallup Poll” falls into that category. 

According to this poll, 84 percent of Americans oppose human cloning. Apparently they did not poll those in the biogenetics field where many have lobbied for years for a so-called cloning ban that would bar them from doing “reproductive cloning” but not “therapeutic cloning.” These word games will confound you every time. So let’s unpack the poll heading and what the professionals really want to do.

Therapeutic cloning is defined as the replication of certain cells that might be deemed useful in the treatment of diseases or conditions that can debilitate human beings. In 2003, nearly 70 percent of Americans, according to another poll, favored this kind of cloning even though they were apparently unaware that the useful cells could only be replicated if human embryos are produced and then destroyed in the process

On the other hand, reproductive cloning, which is the replication of an organism using a process such as somatic cell nuclear transfer or artificial embryo twinning, is viewed as unpopular in the public sector—at least for now. The reason is that these human clones would grow and ultimately be born. But should one of them develop a genetic problem prior to birth, there is no doubt that surgical abortion would solve that problem. 

So we ask, is there really nothing more than a distinction in practices with no true difference when discussing reproductive versus therapeutic cloning? Are the ethics—or lack thereof—any different? 

I am not a scientist, so I defer to those who have made it their life’s work. For example, the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life statement has many Catholic ethics experts involved and they have addressed this very question. The Academy’s “Reflections on Cloning” specifically states that the practices of therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning are “equally unjust from the moral standpoint.” In other words, simply because a human embryonic individual is killed before implantation in order to avoid “consequences” does not justify killing that individual. Therefore, it is easy to see that, indeed, there is no difference—human cloning is wrong. Period!

We can also turn to the science expert, Professor Dianne Irving, who has written literally hundreds of documents for grassroots pro-lifers, lawmakers, and even the Vatican itself on this serious topic. Dr. Irving wrote the document entitled “Human Embryology and Church Teachings” which analyzes all of the scientific potholes that have been created to permit all manner of assaults on human dignity—from contraceptives to abortion and onward. Her analyses, which are thorough and challenging, come to the same conclusion.  

It really does not matter what you call it. Cloning involving a human individual is always wrong. Therefore the next question to be asked is logically this: Why do we need a poll to discern whether or not the public approves or disapproves of a practice we know is wrong, is a violation of human rights, is a denial of the integrity of the human individual, and is a total rejection of proper science?

The answer is clear. Just as the enemies of human dignity worked methodically for years to soften the public attitude toward contraception and its acceptance, followed by abortion and its acceptance, so too the disinformation campaign continues until that magic number often referred to as a “majority” concurs in another awful proposal that codifies further dehumanization into the law.

Today the public says no to human cloning, but what about tomorrow? 

Ask those 53-plus million surgically aborted American children and they will tell you it’s just a matter of time. Lest we forget, evil has nothing but time to work its will.

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