Cloning and Abortion

With the dubious announcement of a cloned birth back on Christmas Day, the debates are again arising about the nature and ethical characteristics of cloning. I have decided to reserve judgement for the present, as I’m not certain what exactly has been created in a cloned birth. Is it a human being? Will it have a soul? (If such a thing, in fact, exists).

What does intrigue me is the sheer volume of people who are against cloning. “We have no right to manipulate human life” is a typical explanation. “Who are we to do God’s work” would be another. My anecdotal survey tells me that the majority of people are against cloning.

Yet a great quantity of those are pro-abortion. In this particular case, I do have a stance, though it is tenuous. I base my slight anti-abortionism on the basis that I don’t believe we know when human life begins. It seems to me that there have been studies showing that fetuses in the womb display characteristics of a human being, such as brainwaves and reaction to stimuli. Then again, the Venus Flytrap reacts to outside stimulus, but would not typically be considered as sentient (though would be thought of as alive). Regardless, I have seen no proof that human life begins upon exit from the womb, except as an arbitrary starting point.

My query is to those who are pro-abortion, yet anti-cloning. What rationale do you use to separate the two? In either case, are we not manipulating human life?

I have to question this premise. From what I’ve seen, its’s the anti-abortion religious right which tends to oppose cloning for those reasons. The pro-abortion anti-cloning people (which includes many if not most scientists) oppose cloning on the grounds that cloning is an unsafe unproven technology. Any research into human cloning will invariably lead to numerous failures - dead fetuses and live babies with genetic defects. If cloning was perfected on other animals to a point where a new animal can be cloned with 99.9% success on the first try, then I think most anti-cloning people would change their minds. At least, that’s my own position.

I would be interested to find out if that would be the case, or if they would continue to disagree with cloning on a moral basis of some kind.

I kind of agree with the OP. Just from this standpoint. The majority of people in the US appear to approve of at least limitted abortion. Yet the majority also seems to be against cloning. There’s got to be an overlap. And I don’t think it’s just the safetly issue, although that is probably a significant component. I’ll be inetersted in seeing some pro-abortion posters tell us about their anit-cloning beliefs.

For me, I’m OK with abortion (at least in early pregnancy) and have no problems with cloning, except the safetly issues. And, not to minimize the safety issues, but I don’t believe that was ever used in any way to limit IVF back in the days when IVF was brand new. Or maybe there were just enough animal successes that it was a non-issue.

I am against cloning of people who are against cloning.
I am against cloning of people who are against abortions.
I am against cloning of people who hate the Man Show.
I am against cloning of soccer moms.
I am against cloning of people who want to censor me.
I am against cloning of people who think my V8 powered car, is supporing terroists.
I am against cloning of democrats.
I am against cloning of republicans.
I am against cloning of Chris Mathews.
I am against cloning of, hell, the whole crew at MSNBC, except Abhram. (Spelling?)
I am against cloning of religious activits who think I should think like them.
I am against cloning of people who tell me what to do with my mind and body.
I am against cloning of of people who sue people for outragous sums of money. Can’t put a price a human life? It’s not worth more than a half a mil’ at that. Deal with it.

All in all though, I’m for cloning and abortions. In my opinion, abortions should be ok up until the age of 18. (Of the fetus of course).

That’s just my opinion though.

But the worst that can happen with a failed IVF is that the embryo dies, right? (Please correct me if I’m wrong there.) Live babies with severe genetic defects would be far worse.

I am for cloning of organs, extinct species, and to remove genetic abnormalities. Frankly, I’m not against personal improvement, either. I would dearly love a pair of eyes that were 20/10 and could see in color. I understand the possible implications, ethically, if used wrong, but I feel the benefits outweigh the possible dangers. The possible risks, however, from unforseen outcomes remain quite high. There is a difference, however, between risks, and dangers. Risks are “The cloned organ develops instacancer and decays.” They are mechanical issues. Dangers are “Someone clones 50 SuperHitlers.” They are moral issues.

Furthermore, I feel too much of this is done looking at full body cloning, and not enough is done looking at parts research, such as organs and stem cells.

What sort of cloning are you talking about?

There is embryonic stem cell cloning, which involves the creation of an cloned embryo that is destroyed when the stem cells are extracted. This type of cloning does not create human life in any sense that “anti-abortion” types might recognise, as the “life” is terminated at an extremely early stage and is never meant to come to term. Of course, such a rationale might seem empty to those who hold that life begins at conception… In any case, this is the type of cloning (though not the only means of procuring stem cells) that may lead to ground-breaking medical advances. Being able to grow replacement organs and tissues that the body will not reject will save many lives and raise the quality of life for even more.

I’m all for it. But your average Joe is only likely to be for it if he isn’t scared away by insidious terms like “cloning” and “destruction of the embryo” first. If that fails, then having to weigh the suffering of a loved one against the non-suffering of a mass of cells is another good source of clarity.

Cloning of humans just to give birth to a clone though? You won’t get me to say that it’s an “abomination against nature,” which seems to be the “best” religious argument out there :rolleyes:. It’s simply unethical, there are far too many things that could go wrong, too many potential sources of defects. Not to mention that the only way for us to get “better” at it is to suffer through a few “mistakes” until we get the hang of it. People are not mistakes, that is a dangerous frame of mind.

I am pro-choice and I am against cloning.

I am pro choice because i believe a child becomes a person upon its ability to survive without being connected to its mother. Its viability is its criteria for life.

I am against cloning because we, at this point, only know how to begin life, not how to manipulate it, to safeguard against any dire consequences or to rationally treat the clone when it grows up.

Cloning isnt like abortion. It is like knowing how to have sex. Any 13 year old can do it, but they should wait till they are more mature and responsible before trying it out. The Human race doesnt have sympathetic parents to help it out when it screws up.


“to safeguard against any dire consequences or to rationally treat the clone when it grows up.”

What dire consequences? Do you mean possible genetic abnormalities? I think we all agree this is a problem, but suppose that issue is overcome? Is there something inhent about cloning that you find a problem with?

As for treating the grown-up clone, what’st he big deal. Not sure if you’re old enough to remember Louise Brown (the first IVF baby). Everyone was worried she’d be freak. Now, no one even batts an eye. The clone would be a celebrity (like Ms Brown) for a fw years and then everyone would forget it.

Perhaps I am thinking beyond cloning. If we come to a point where we perfect cloning, then we may also be in a position to create “designer babies” (perhaps not achieving both contemporaneously, but certainly one leading to the other, a la “progress”).

I suspect, as pointed out by John Mace, that I think there are probably a good number of pro-choice advocates who would abhor creation of babies through either cloning or genetic manipulation on a strictly idealogical basis. My interest lies in trying to decipher what that idealogical basis is.

2 questions for X~Slayer: I don’t want to turn this into a discussion about strictly abortion, but am interested in clarification of your point. If your belief is that life begins at the moment a baby is able to live without connection to its mother (read no judgement into the question - I certainly respect others’ rights to their beliefs), how late in a pregnancy are you willing to accept abortion of the fetus? Also, since a newborn, while able to fundamentally survive without being connected to its mother, is not able to survive if not cared for by the mother (or surrogate), what distinction do you make between the two?

I’m pro-choice-ish, and anti-cloning, so I’ll give this a go.

My opposition to cloning has little to do with the dangers of research, though that’s certainly a concern, and would be enough to make me support a ban of cloning research. But even if, somehow, we were able to magically create clones with a 100% success rate, I’d still oppose it, on purely ethical grounds.

First of all, there’s the psychological impact on the clone - knowing that he’s an exact replica of someone else. That’s not a trivial issue, and would have the potential to seriously screw up a kid.

Secondly, there’s a certain slippery-slope element. I can see this leading to custom-made kids, designed to be smarter, stronger, better looking, or whatnot.

Thirdly, there’s the ick-factor. It’s not as silly as it sounds. There’s just something that feels wrong about it. It’s like stepping on a frog. It can be done so that the frog feels no pain, and they’re not terribly sentient anyway, and nobody’s going to miss him - you can justify it to your heart’s content. But it still just feels wrong, for some indescribable reason. It’s just… icky. Not exactly an excellent debating point, but it’s good enough for me.

Of course, I’m also opposed to cloning for the harvest of organs. To me, there’s a huge difference between terminating an accidental pregnancy - something that is tragic, but sometimes understandable - and creating human life, just so you can harvest its body parts and kill it. It cheapens human life. And the argument about being able to save so many people just doesn’t fly with me.

First of all, the ends don’t always justify the means. If we can save 100,000 lives by forcing 10 people to be guinnea pigs in medical experiments that will cost them their lives, it’s still wrong. Similarly, killing countless numbers of human embryos to provide a harvest of human organs isn’t justifiable. Secondly, there other ways to obtain stem cells than from embryos - it’s possible to get them from adults, as well. Even if it’s not quite as effective (and the jury is still out on that - scientists are having a lot of success with adult stem cells), it can be done with a much lower moral overhead. It makes it a lot more appealing to me.

I am generally against either one…although I would support “stem-cell” cloning in order to create replacement organs for those in need. Similarly I would support abortion in order to save the mother’s life, or in cases where the woman was raped. I understand that makes some people consider me “wishy-washy” on that issue, but there you have it. Shades of grey.

Cloning is going to happen, either in the US or somewhere else. I guess if you really believe it is somehow immoral, then that argument wouldn’t change your stance. At any rate, cloning, designer babies, the whole ball of wax-- it’s coming, baby, whether you want it or not. Personally I’m excited. It’s going to be an INTERESTING world. Maybe not in 5 yrs, but certainly in 25.

John Mace -
John I agree. Besides cloning happens naturally in the conception of identical twins, no problem there with split soles and other such nonsense. There are twin organizations, and twins in commercials and I’m sure the same will apply to clones. The only drawback I can see is that the young vibrant clone will see the old decrepit individual s/he will grow up to look like and spend their best years trying not to get there. Then again we do that anyway.

Here is an Ancient Curse:
May you live in Interesting Times

Anyway I am a pro-cloning anti-abortionist.

One of the dangers I see in human cloning of viable fetuses is that it could create an underclass of humans that could be rationalized as sub-human. This could bring human slavery back with all of its problems.