The “Cures Without Cloning” (CWC) initiative was launched on Wednesday in Missouri with the purpose of prohibiting human cloning in Missouri. Dr. Lori Buffa of St. Peters, Missouri, filed proposed ballot language with that state’s Secretary of State’s office earlier this morning.
The initiative would write an amendment into the Missouri Constitution to prohibit the practice of human cloning, and would likewise prohibit taxpayer funding of all human cloning experiments.
The measure, if passed into law, would permit stem cell research within the state and would allow funding for it to come from taxpayers.
However, not even “any part of” a human being would be allowed to be cloned for any purpose, including medical research.
“As a doctor, I have grave concerns about experimentation with human cloning. It is unproven, dangerous, and outside the mainstream of society. We should continue to search for cures and treatments using stem cell research. And we should embrace the exciting promise of cures and treatments that proven, safe research can bring — and we should do so by resoundingly rejecting the practice of human cloning,” said Dr. Buffa.
Critics of this stance against human cloning, who include many medical doctors and research scientists, remain incredulous that informed people don’t understand that a human clone would be something that already exists and is quite familiar to everyone: a genetically identical twin to the person cloned.
So, they argue, what exactly is wrong with it? Do we call identical twins, triplets, quadruplets “unethical” or “immoral” or “dangerous”? They wonder which ethical principle human cloning would violate; would it be like stealing, or lying, or murdering, or coveting that which is thy neighbor’s? They conclude that most of the arguments against human cloning come down to a re-stating of reformulation of an old, old “Luddite” refrain: If God had meant for mankind to fly, then he would have given human beings wings.
The critics argue that this is the very same train of thought that causes people to oppose the genetic modification of foods; which, once again, is merely now a more technologically advanced-and very effective-form of something that has been going on for thousands and thousands of years.
Most outrageous of all to the critics is the fact that a bill like the one proposed also prohibits what is known as therapeutic cloning.
Therapeutic cloning would involve removing a regular cell from a patient and injecting its nucleus into an egg from which the nucleus has been removed. This cloned cell would then divide for a week in a petri dish, to the point where it had become between 100 and 200 cells. Scientists would then take embryonic stem cells from those cloned cells and from them create, for just a few examples, heart, liver, pancreatic, or nerve cells to be used in the repairing of the patient’s own diseased or otherwise unhealthy body parts. Because the cells would be taken straight from the patient, they would be perfect matches for his body and therefore there would be no question of the immune rejection problem which is still all too common when doing live-saving transplants.
“The Missouri Constitution currently allows for human cloning. It allows for the same cloning method that created Dolly the Sheep. This initiative will ensure this dangerous, unproven, unnecessary practice is prohibited, and allow us to focus on safe research that leads to lifesaving cures and treatments,” concludes Dr. Buffa.
Dolly was cloned in 1997 and died in 2003 at the age of six-and-a-half years. Her relatively early death (typical sheep live 10-12 years) has kept the debate over the cloning of full-fledged mammals, especially those as complex as human beings, raging.
Scientists say some cloned mammals have shorter-than-normal telomeres, the pieces of DNA which protect the ends of chromosomes as cells divide and which shorten as an organism ages. However, many cloned mammals do not have this shortcoming.
Cures Without Cloning (PR Newswire), “Missourians Launch Campaign to Prohibit Human Cloning”