Written from the point of view of a religious man against cloning:
As a member of the Catholic community, I come to you all today to adamantly oppose the funding of cloning by the United States government. You may ask why a religious person why they care about science. You might even say that the United States believes that religion and government should be separate. I don’t disagree with you. Religion and government should be separate. However, when you see a country you love, regardless of your religion, turning down a dark path you are obligated to take a stand. While I am a member of the Catholic community my arguments are not a religious one, rather they are based on the morals that have been deeply ingrained in us as a country. Essentially, there are two main reasons for cloning. The first, medical research. This is where embryos are grown for the purposes of testing and for stem cell research. It is also possible to take cells from these beings for multiple other purposes. The second reason is for people to clone children, pets, or even themselves to avoid death and mourning. People clone dogs after death to avoid saying goodbye to furry friends. They try to clone children for women who can’t reproduce or have lost children. Some people even try to clone themselves to ensure that they continue to live on. A small baby made with their exact copied genetic makeup to raise as themselves in hopes that when that one clone grows old it will again repeat the cloning process to ensure that they line on forever.
As far as science goes, cloning has some major benefits that we cannot ignore. I will admit that. “On the one hand, there is the promise that such research could lead to important knowledge of human embryological development and gene action, especially in cases in which there are genetic abnormalities that lead to disease. There is also the promise that such research could contribute to producing transplantable tissues and organs that could be effective in curing or reversing many dreaded illnesses and injuries – including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, juvenile diabetes, and spinal cord injury… fidelity both to the highest moral and human aspirations of science and medicine and to the moral standards of the wider community requires that we consider not only why and how to proceed with new lines of research, but also whether there might be compelling reasons not to do so or certain limits that should be observed.” (The President’s Council on Bioethics). My heart goes out to the people who struggle with these diseases and these, what I know have to be, painful and difficult injuries. However, it is important to think about whether or not solving one person’s pain is justification for cloning. Regardless of being made in a womb or in a lab, these beings are living breathing humans. Until a study can thoroughly, without a doubt, prove otherwise, they feel pain in the same way we do. Is it worth bringing pain to one individual to save another? More importantly, should the government not only support, but use American tax dollars to fund these experiments? I speak for myself, and hopefully, most other conscious Americans when I state, find a better way. Find a better way to test, find a better way to get cells for testing, just find a better way. This is not a Catholic argument. It is argument for the moral fiber of the United States. Since I am a religious man, I do think it is important though, to consider the religious community’s views because so many Americans do consider themselves religious.
When considering the Catholic community’s stand point, it is important to look to what religious leaders say on matters such as these. According to the Donum Vitae and the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, “Techniques of fertilization in vitro can open the way to other forms of biological and genetic manipulation of human embryos, such as attempts or plans for fertilization between human and animal gametes and the gestation of human embryos in the uterus of animals, or the hypothesis or project of constructing artificial uteruses for the human embryo. These procedures are contrary to the human dignity proper to the embryo, and at the same time they are contrary to the right of every person to be conceived and to be born within marriage and from marriage. Also, attempts or hypotheses for obtaining a human being without any connection with sexuality through “twin fission”, cloning or parthenogenesis are to be considered contrary to the moral law, since they are in opposition to the dignity both of human procreation and of the conjugal union.” Furthermore, “the gift of life which God the Creator and Father has entrusted to man calls him to appreciate the inestimable value of what he has been given and to take responsibility for it: this fundamental principle must be placed at the center of one’s reflection in order to clarify and solve the moral problems raised by artificial interventions on life as it originates and on the processes of procreation. Thanks to the progress of the biological and medical sciences, man has at his disposal ever more effective therapeutic resources; but he can also acquire new powers, with unforeseeable consequences, over human life at its very beginning and in its first stages. Various procedures now make it possible to intervene not only in order to assist but also to dominate the processes of procreation.” It is not our job as humans to create life for the betterment of other life. In Judaism they also have fundamental concerns about cloning. Based on their laws and beliefs, they find it difficult, if not impossible, to support the usage of their tax dollars for cloning and the subsequent experimentation testing of these clones once they are created. “Initially, an analysis of the implications of cloning found in Jewish law really contains within it three distinctly different problems in need of resolution. The first problem is whether the cloning process is permissible, prohibited, or a good deed…, there is no mitzvah (as none of the participants are obligated). The activity itself is neither good nor bad, although the need to engage in other prohibited activity would be enough to prohibit this cloning according to Jewish law, as there is no counterbalancing mitzvah to offset even a small impropriety.” (Broyde).
Another important point to consider is that of parenthood. In the case that the government or scientists and researchers have cloned a human using cells from a dead person or even a donor, who is the parent? While this seems like a small point to make, the person who is the guardian of this living being is also the one who is obligated to take care of it. If the cloned being is the responsibility of the American government then not only will you need tax money for the research, but also extra money for any care and necessities these beings have. That is more money coming out of the pockets of hardworking citizens of the United States or more money diverted away from our already underfunded education system or failing medical system. Ask yourselves, how do you plan to explain to the American public that you have taken money from their child’s education for the immoral cloning and creating of living beings in a lab? I can assure you now, it won’t go over well.
To my second point, people clone to avoid dealing with the harsh realities of death and mourning or to fix the inability to conceive a child by any other means. Cloning has the ability to create a living being made of your exact same genetic makeup. “We must weigh whether to take up this matter in the context of deciding what to do about cloning-to-produce-children or in the somewhat different context of the ethics of embryo and stem cell research more generally. The issue has in fact emerged in the public moral debate over anti-cloning legislation, as a complication in the effort to stop cloning-to-produce-children. Generally speaking, the most effective way to prevent cloning-to-produce-children would arguably be to stop the process at the initial act of cloning, the production (by an act of somatic cell nuclear transfer [SCNT]) of the embryonic human clone.” (The President’s Council on Bioethics). To many people, they believe that an exact genetic equal means that this person will walk, talk, and act like them. Unfortunately, this idea comes from watching a few too many science fiction films. We, as human beings, are who we are partially because of our genetic makeup. However, the majority of our personality traits and opinions come from our life experiences. For example, if you were attacked by a dog at 5 years old, you were probably afraid of dogs for a significant period of your life. Likewise, if you went through a negative emotional experience, such as loss of a parent at a young age, it might have shaped some personality trait within you that you cherish today. Your clone, having none of those experiences, would have none of those personality traits. In short, experiences make you who you are and therefore, your clone will be an entirely different person. The idea of a clone ensuring that you live forever shows an ignorance of the human experience. Furthermore, a cloned being is not any more of a life insurance than a normal child would be.
Cloning is the human creation of human beings. Not only is it wrong religiously but it is wrong morally as well. Today, I urge the Congress of this great United States of America to truly consider the implications of the decisions you make today. When you vote for or against this funding remember that your actions have serious implications. It should not be the goal of this Congress to support the creation of human beings for the sole purpose of research, experimentation, and tissue harvesting. More importantly, the money of the American taxpayers should not go to this immoral act. Furthermore, we as American taxpayers should not have to use our hard-earned money to clone rich men who have a fear of death. Thank you for your time.
Written from the point of view of a religious man against cloning: