There was always controversy on the subject of cloning, but lately as the idea became more and more real, so have the critics’ voices became louder and vocal.  One of the main ethical issues is how we would go about creating these clones, one way involving harvesting stem cells from embryos.  This process would kill, as some would see it, a living human being before they would even have a chance to live.  Others weigh the benefits over this, saying that the process of transplanting vital organs will be made much quicker and save lives, for who could be a better match than you could?  This argument really came to a head after the birth of Dolly the Sheep in 1996, which led to President Bill declaring a 5-year moratorium on human cloning.  This moratorium only applied to federal research, but 20,000 scientists and private industries also signed on.  The period has long since passed and research has started back up, and with it the controversy.

Another objection cloning has, aside the conflict it has with various religious beliefs and fundamentals, is that cloning is not an exact science.  It took 237 eggs just to create 29 embryos, and out of those only managed to produce three lambs at birth, and the only survivor was the Finn Dorset ewe Dolly.(Wikipedia) Humans are significantly more difficult to clone, and scientists like bio-ethicist Thomas Murray of the Hastings Center argue vocally against such actions.(reference #3)

"...Practices which are contrary to human dignity, such as reproductive cloning of human beings, shall not be permitted. States and competent international organizations are invited to co-operate in identifying such practices and in taking, at national or international level, the measures necessary to ensure that the principles set out in this Declaration are respected."

-Article 11 of The Universal Declaration on Human Genome and Human Rights

     Even the process of how to go about creating a clone is a touchy subject, let alone the ramifications of actually succeeding in this venture.  So far, the most viable method of cloning would be through somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), which entails the process of placing an adult donor cell into an unfertilized egg and placing that egg into a surrogate.  The process is not a surefire way; on the contrary, it is only occasionally that one actually achieves a true clone, as mutations are common in the maturing process, .  The problem with SCNT is that this process is also used in the creation of stem cells, and many of the same objections, , that plague stem cell research, such as the source of the human eggs needed and the moral quandaries surrounding the practice, are applied to research involving SCNT in general.  Despite this, it is still legal within the US, as no federal laws have addressed the issue as of yet, and the UK allows it only research purposes and requires the permission of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority before any research can be conducted.(reference #15)

"It is absolutely inevitable that groups are going to try to clone a human being. But they are going to create a lot of dead and dying babies along the way."

                                                 -Bio-ethicist Thomas Murray


     UNESCO and the WHO have also taken issue with cloning, proclaiming in UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Human Genome and Human Rights that cloning “should fully respect human dignity, freedom and human rights, as well as the prohibition of all forms of discrimination based on genetic characteristics”.  As such, they assert that “Practices which are contrary to human dignity, such as reproductive cloning of human beings, shall not be permitted”.  The World Health Organization specifically take issue with how unnatural it is towards humans, stating that “cloning is an asexual reproductive mode, which could distort generation lines and family relationships, and limit genetic differentiation, which ensures that human life is largely unique.  Cloning can also imply an instrumental attitude toward humans, which risks turning them into manufactured objects, and interferes with evolution, the implications of which we lack the insight or prescience to predict.” 

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