A research article published in the medical journal Cell describes that scientists are able to clone human embryos and then kill them to obtain embryonic stem cells.
Pro-life advocates oppose this process because human cloning involves the purposeful creation and then destruction of human life for research purposes. There is also a concern that the desire for human cloning will lead to the exploitation of women as scientists look for ways to gather large amounts of human eggs.
An international group of scientists at the Oregon National Primate Research Center announced their research in the June 6 issues of the journal. According to the article, they developed four cloned human embryos in a dish for about 10 days. This created about 150 to 200 cells. This is the stage — the blastocyst stage — when embryos created in vitro are usually placed within the woman where they are carried until birth.
This, however, was not the point of these experiments.
“Instead, the cloned embryos were destroyed and embryonic stem cell lines created — a process sometimes called ‘therapeutic cloning,'” writes Wesley J. Smith in The Weekly Standard. “While these scientists have no interest in reproductive cloning, if a cloned baby is ever born, their experiments will have been a big step toward making it possible.”
Bottom line: This type of human cloning — called somatic cell nuclear transfer — creates and destroys human life.
“The reality here, is that we’ve reached a new stage in the development of science — the cloning of human beings for the expressed purpose of research,” said Dawn McBane, CitizenLink bioethics analyst. “We really have a moral and ethical concern with this research, especially when we see other forms of ethical stem cell research producing similar types of stem types — these non-embryonic, non-cloned sources of stem cells are actually helping to cure patients.”
Non-embryonic stem cell research (bone marrow, umbilical cord blood and other types of “adult” stem cell research) has proven to be successful for a whole host of diseases and conditions. Thousands of patients struggling with more than 70 different diseases and conditions have been successfully treated using ethical stem cells.
“A lot of times we see the kid-in-the-candy-shop type of mentality with scientists,” McBane said. “If they can clone human embryos, or if they can do research with embryonic stem cells, they want to pursue that. At the end of the day, this research is not only unethical, it’s also unnecessary.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read the Cell article.
Read Focus on the Family’s Position Statement on Human Cloning.
Read “The Arrival of Human Cloning.”