The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, January 21, 1998, Page 5, Image 5

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    Two wrongs
Evils of cloning similar to those of abortion
JOSH MOENNING is a sophomore polit
ical science and advertising major and a
Daily Nebraskan columnist.
I knew it would come to this. I just didn’t figure it
would happen so soon. It’s amazing how quickly some
people can change their minds.
Last July, when the world was introduced to Dolly,
the first cloned adult mammal, people responded with
amazement and caution. The wonderful world of science
had struck again. Once everyone overcame their initial
amazement that science could now create exact replicas
of animals, a certain uneasiness could be sensed within
the public and scientific circles alike.
Shortly there appeared a public outcry to ensure that
humans would not be the next scientific barrier for the
cloning people to break. Numerous scientists
ensured a skeptical public that the cloning of
humans was and would remain an unthink
able evil. The mere thought of it was
appalling. We were assured that the idea
would never even be considered.
Now, just seven months after our intro
duction to Dolly, at least one scientist has
broken away from his anti-human cloning
colleagues. Dr. Richard Seed, a physicist
from Chicago (that’s right, the guy’s not even
a medical doctor), has announced to the world
that he’s going to clone a person and no one’s
going to stop him. He just needs a little help -
namely $2 million - and a country where cloning
humans won’t be outlawed.
The question I ask now is this: Is this guy simply a
no-name hack basking in his 15 minutes of fame, or is it
that the world of science is coming closer to seriously
entertaining the idea of human cloning? President
Clinton seemed to answer this question during his week
ly radio address to the nation on Jan. 10. He pro
claimed, “We know there is virtually unanimous ' -
consensus in the scientific and medical com- Im
munities that attempting to use these cloning ^
techniques to actually clone a human being is > Jw
untested and unsafe and morally unacceptable ” ~ 's,
This is true. Most in the scientific and medical 1|||
fields have denounced Dr. Seed and his ideas.
However, I believe it is important to remember
that just fewer than 50 years ago “there was virtually I
unanimous consensus in the scientific and medical *
.communities” that procedures used to kill unborn
children were unsafe and morally unacceptable.
How things have changed.
Today, our great nation alone kills more
than one million children a year using a med
ical procedure that just 25 years ago was
banned by law.
This could lead one to believe that this
whole thing is not strictly about science. It
also involves political agendas and the group
that can yell loudest, even though what they’re
screaming may be completely wrong. Dr. Seed says he
does not want to clone humans just to be the first to do
it, he wants to help people. “I have been enormously
encouraged in just one day by calls I have received from
infertile couples who are in tears.... They tell me things
like, ‘Don’t let them stop you.’”
rLmmm ... what a personal hell Dr. Seed must be suf
fering in. How long will it take for some radical, phony
humanitarian group to start pushing the infertile couple’s
right to choose to clone themselves? I can hear their
arguments right now: “There is no reason the govern
ment should interfere with the infertile couple’s right to
choose to clone themselves. These couples go through
unnecessary emotional trauma because they are unable
to create their own fetuses and are unable to adopt
. because of the low number of fetuses actually carried to
term today. Who are we to take away their right to play
with humanity and make a copy of themselves if they so
Sound ridiculous? So did the idea of a woman choos
ing to kill the baby in her womb to people living in the
Fortunately, public support for banning human
cloning has been strong enough to cause public officials
around the world to pass legislation against it. Nineteen
European countries have signed a treaty stating that
cloning people violates human dignity and is a misuse of
science. The treaty did not, however, mention sanctions
of any kind for those who would attempt to break the
cloning ban.
In the United States, President Clinton has lashed out
at Dr. Seed and any other human cloning advocates that
may be out there, saying, “Personally, I believe that
human cloning raises deep concerns given our cherished
concepts of faith and humanity.” Funny thing though -
these same concepts of faith and humanity must have
completely slipped the President’s mind while he vetoed
two partial-birth abortion bans.
Clinton has sent legislation to Congress that would
outlaw human cloning for at least five years. I’m sorry,
Mr. President, but the Richard Seeds of the world are not
going to disappear in five years. The only hope for a
clone-free future is an international, indefinite ban, and
the faith that our society is intelligent enough not to buy
into the ludicrous arguments supporting man’s right to
play God that are sure to come.
All that those of us who cherish life as God intended
it to be can do now is hope and pray that some kind of
worldwide ban can be put into place and that it is possi
ble to enforce it. A ban would be very instrumental in
helping to stop the dangerous idea of human cloning, but
no legislation can bar moral values from changing.
We can ohly hope that our society does not once
again fall into believing that manipulating and ultimately
destroying innocent human life is acceptable because of
the supposed “rights” of those who would sacrifice the
defenseless in order to make things easier or better for
Melanie Falk/DN
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