PHI 204 - Therapeutic Cloning

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  • 1. Therapeutic Cloning (Biomedical Ethics) Charles Lohman
  • 2. Therapeutic Cloning
    • Therapeutic cloning is called therapeutic because of its potential to rejuvenate tissues or even replace organs damaged from degenerative diseases.
      • Embryonic stem cells (ES) might cure or at least alleviate the symptoms of diseases that adversely affect the quality of many people’s lives.
  • 3. Therapeutic Cloning Existing People -v- Potential People
    • Opponents say it destroys potential human life.
      • The claim is that once ES cells have been mined from the cloned embryos, the embryos will be destroyed, destroying potential human life.
        • In other words, since an embryo has the potential to become a human being, it has a right to life, thus therapeutic cloning would violate this right and therefore should be prohibited.
      • So the conclusion is:
        • Even if therapeutic cloning could improve the lives of existing people suffering from degenerative diseases, it should be prohibited because it destroys potential human life.
  • 4. Therapeutic Cloning Existing People -v- Potential People
    • Advocates say embryos are a clump of cells.
      • The claim is that embryos cannot have interests and rights because they are nothing more than a nonintegrated clump of cells.
        • In other words, if embryos cannot have interests or rights, then they cannot be harmed or wronged by not becoming persons.
      • So the conclusion is:
        • Since embryos cannot suffer from and be harmed by not realizing their potential, it should be permitted because existing people can suffer from and be harmed by disease.
  • 5. Therapeutic Cloning Existing People -v- Potential People
    • Opponents say it violates the sanctity of human life from the time of conception.
      • So the conclusion is:
        • Embryos embody the sanctity of human life, thus it should be prohibited.
    • Advocates say both, potential people and existing people, embody the sanctity of life so both have equal moral status.
      • They say what makes them unequal is that potential people cannot suffer, while existing people can suffer.
      • So the conclusion is:
        • If embryos cannot be harmed, and if therapeutic cloning can alleviate suffering, then therapeutic cloning should be permitted.
          • In other words, if the suffering of existing people is morally worse than creating and destroying embryos, then we should be more concerned about alleviating the suffering of existing people.