Clinton vs human cloning : Pres ignores self-ownership

Mark Doherty Mdoherty at atlas.niaid.nih.gov
Thu Mar 6 15:21:17 EST 1997


In article <AF432A06-4414D9 at 24.1.70.191>, swstark at home.com wrote:

> You have a point here. But, I for one, would prefer a slow approach to
> this science. We know so little. If a person is cloned, who owns the
> clone? The original, or does the clone have self ownership?

This seems a pretty straightforward question - a clone is no different
really than an identical twin except for the technical details involved in
conception.  We don't consider babies derived by IVF legally different from
those conceived by the traditional route, so why this fuss over a clone? 
It will be a full person,and since ownership of person is currently
forbidden by law in most places, the answer is unambiguous.  Self
ownership.

> Will
> people try cloning themselves to replace errant organs and body parts?
> Will they try to have their brains moved to a younger copy of
> themselves in an attempt to avoid death? If so, what does this mean
> about our rights as individuals if a person can own another person?

See the discussion above about ownership of persons.  Would it be any more
difficult ethically if you had a child solely to provide body parts? (After
all as long as you were careful about the partner involved you should be
able to select for a good major histocompatibility match).  That seems
pretty unethical and it's difficult to see how raising a clone is (legally
at least) any different

> What if I see a guy that I would rather look like, so I make an
> agreement with him to buy his clone so my brain can be moved into a
> body like his?

He would of course have to be clone of yourself - otherwise he'd most
likely be incompatible with your tissue and would reject your brain :-) 
Even if he *was* a good tissue match, would you be prepared to wait several
decades until he matured enough so that the body was big enough to house
your brain?

If I create several clones of myself and I instruct one
> of them to rob a bank, how will the police know which one did it?

If you create several clones, they are going to be much younger than you,
and like young people everywhere are unlikely to accept such instructions
from their elders... :-)  Even if you could persuade them, the police would
have to rely on the sort of approach they use when physical evidence is not
forthcoming - presence at the appropriate place and time - fibres from the
carpets of the bank in question on one clone, posession of the loot, etc. 
It might make it more difficult if the clones co-operated to obstruct
investigation - but then they could all be done on that charge instead. 
Finally, if you could afford to pay for several clones and support them to
adulthood,it's unlikely that you would *need* to rob banks.

I think people are getting carried away with fancies here.  I really can't
see mnuch difference between somebody paying a woman to carry their clone
and paying a surrogate mother to carry their baby derived by more
conventional means.  The end product (adult/child) is *not* going to be the
same as the adult it came from, which was born and raised in a totally
different environment - it's simply going to be genetically identical in
the case of a clone.  Who cares?

Cheers,Mark



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