A resource-based version of the argument that cloning is an affront to human dignity
Journal of Medical Ethics 2008 April; 34(4): 259-261
The claim that human reproductive cloning constitutes an affront to human dignity became a familiar one in 1997 as policymakers and bioethicists responded to the announcement of the birth of Dolly the sheep. Various versions of the argument that reproductive cloning is an affront to human dignity have been made, most focusing on the dignity of the child produced by cloning. However, these arguments tend to be unpersuasive and strongly criticised in the bioethical literature. In this paper I put forward a different argument that reproductive cloning is an affront to human dignity, one that looks beyond the dignity of the child produced. I suggest that allocating funds to such a pursuit can affront human dignity by diverting resources away from those existing people who lack sufficient health to enable them to exercise basic rights and liberties. This version of the argument posits cloning as an affront to human dignity in particular circumstances, rather than claiming the technology as intrinsically inconsistent with human dignity.
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