One potentially valuable use of cloning is to provide a source of tissues or organs for transplantation. The most important objection to this use of cloning is that a human clone would be the sort of entity that it would be seriously wrong to kill. I argue that entities of the sort that you and I essentially are do not begin to exist until around the seventh month of fetal gestation. Therefore to kill a clone prior to that would not be to kill someone like you or me but would be only to prevent one of us from existing. And even after one of us begins to exist, the objections to killing it remain comparatively weak until its psychological capacities reach a certain level of maturation. These claims support the permissibility of killing a clone during the early stages of its development in order to use its organs for transplantation. (+info)
Should we clone human beings? Cloning as a source of tissue for transplantation.
The most publicly justifiable application of human cloning, if there is one at all, is to provide self-compatible cells or tissues for medical use, especially transplantation. Some have argued that this raises no new ethical issues above those raised by any form of embryo experimentation. I argue that this research is less morally problematic than other embryo research. Indeed, it is not merely morally permissible but morally required that we employ cloning to produce embryos or fetuses for the sake of providing cells, tissues or even organs for therapy, followed by abortion of the embryo or fetus. (+info)
Beware! Preimplantation genetic diagnosis may solve some old problems but it also raises new ones.
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PIGD) goes some way to meeting the clinical, psychological and ethical problems of antenatal testing. We should guard, however, against the assumption that PIGD is the answer to all our problems. It also presents some new problems and leaves some old problems untouched. This paper will provide an overview of how PIGD meets some of the old problems but will concentrate on two new challenges for ethics (and, indeed, law). First we look at whether we should always suppose that it is wrong for a clinician to implant a genetically abnormal zygote. The second concern is particularly important in the UK. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (1990) gives clinicians a statutory obligation to consider the interests of the future children they help to create using in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques. Does this mean that because PIGD is based on IVF techniques the balance of power for determining the best interests of the future child shifts from the mother to the clinician? (+info)
Equality and selection for existence.
It is argued that the policy of excluding from further life some human gametes and pre-embryos as "unfit" for existence is not at odds with a defensible idea of human equality. Such an idea must be compatible with the obvious fact that the "functional" value of humans differs, that their "use" to themselves and others differs. A defensible idea of human equality is instead grounded in the fact that as this functional difference is genetically determined, it is nothing which makes humans deserve or be worthy of being better or worse off. Rather, nobody is worth a better life than anyone else. This idea of equality is, however, not applicable to gametes and pre-embryos, since they are not human beings, but something out of which human beings develop. (+info)
Human embryonic stem cells and respect for life.
The purpose of this essay is to stimulate academic discussion about the ethical justification of using human primordial stem cells for tissue transplantation, cell replacement, and gene therapy. There are intriguing alternatives to using embryos obtained from elective abortions and in vitro fertilisation to reconstitute damaged or dysfunctional human organs. These include the expansion and transplantation of latent adult progenitor cells. (+info)
Is there a 'new ethics of abortion'?
This paper argues that the central issue in the abortion debate has not changed since 1967 when the English parliament enacted the Abortion Act. That central issue concerns the moral status of the human fetus. The debate here is not, it is argued, primarily a moral debate, but rather a metaphysical debate and/or a theological debate--though one with massive moral implications. It concerns the nature and attributes that an entity requires to have "full moral standing" or "moral inviolability" including a "right to life". It concerns the question when, in its development from newly fertilised ovum to unequivocally mature, autonomous morally inviolable person does a human being acquire that nature and those attributes, and thus a "right to life". The paper briefly reviews standard answers to these questions, outlining some problems associated with each. Finally there is a brief discussion of one way in which the abortion debate has changed since 1967--notably in the increasingly vociferous claim, especially from disability rights sectors, that abortion on grounds of fetal abnormality implies contempt for and rejection of disabled people--a claim that is rebutted. (+info)
Reproductive autonomy and the ethics of abortion.
Abortion is one of the most controversial issues in today's world. People tend to turn to the law when trying to decide what is the best possible solution to an unwanted pregnancy. Here the author's views on abortion are discussed from a lawyer's and a woman's point of view. By taking into consideration the rights of the fetus an "antagonistic relationship" between the woman and her unborn child may occur. Therefore, women should have more autonomy in the issue. The article concludes with examples of cases in the United States and Ireland where the rights of the fetus are considered more important than those of the mother because of existing laws. This article suggests that a more inclusive ethics of abortion is required rather than a new ethics of abortion when "translating fetal life into law". (+info)
The place for individual conscience.
From a liberationist, feminist, and Catholic point of view, this article attempts to understand the decision of abortion. People are constantly testing their principles and values against the question of abortion. Advances in technology, the rise of communitarianism and the rejection of individualism, and the commodification of children are factors in the way in which the abortion debate is being constructed in society. The paper offers solutions to end the ugliness of the abortion debate by suggesting that we would be able to progress further on the issue of abortion if we looked for the good in the opposing viewpoint. The article continues with a discussion of Catholics For a Free Choice's position on abortion, and notes firstly that there is no firm position within the Catholic Church on when the fetus becomes a person; secondly that the principle of probablism in Roman Catholicism holds that where the church cannot speak definitively on a matter of fact (in this case, on the personhood of the fetus), the consciences of individual Catholics must be primary and respected, and thirdly that the absolute prohibition on abortion by the church is not infallible. In conclusion, only the woman herself can make the abortion decision. (+info)