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Copyright (c) 1999 Journal of Law & Social Challenges
Journal of Law & Social Challenges

ACADEMIC ANALYSIS: Legal and Ethical Implications of Human Procreative Cloning

Spring, 1999

3 J.L. & Soc. Challenges 25


By Susan Tall*


Both the world's nonscientific and scientific communities were collectively caught off guard on February 22, 1997 with the announcement of the existence of Dolly, the sheep born as a result of genetically cloning an adult sheep's mammary cell using a nuclear transfer technology protocol. Since then, the world has been vociferously debating the ethical and legal ramifications of extending this technique to the cloning of humans. For the most part, however, the ethical concerns have been exaggerated, misplaced and based on inaccurate views of what genes are and what they can do. Once the issues are brought into proper perspective, it is clear that the danger of cloning humans lies not in the power of the technology, but in the misunderstanding of its significance. 1

Within days of the Dolly announcement, expounding that "people should resist the temptation to replicate themselves," 2 President Clinton called for an immediate five year ban on all federally funded scientific research relating to human cloning and implored privately-funded scientists to voluntarily comply as well. The National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) echoed this sentiment ninety days later in their report to the President. 3 Similarly, other world leaders, scientists and ethicists have called for bans or cautions. Indeed, Dr. Wilmut, the researcher who produced Dolly, stated that he viewed human cloning to be repugnant. 4 Congress jumped in and, deciding that legislation was needed to reign in the rogue scientific community, almost immediately introduced bills to that effect. 5 California became the first ...
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