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This is a correction to the original post entitled “Minnesota Medical Association Supports Reproductive Cloning!”  An article in the MMA News opposing a bill in MN that would outlaw all human cloning stated the Minnesota Medical Association supported reproductive cloning.  I thought that was pretty big news, so I posted about it accordingly.

Commenter David wrote that he didn’t think it was right.  I noted that the writer of the article which I referenced was the head of the the MMA’s communications department.  But I looked into the matter further.  Just because you’re one of the bosses, apparently, doesn’t mean you know what your own association is doing.  The MMA’s 2010 policy book states the MMA opposes reproductive cloning.  It has adopted the AMA position supporting therapeutic cloning and opposing reproductive cloning.  I apologize for any inconvenience and thank David for alerting me to the mistake in the Minnesota Medical Association New’s story about its own policy.

This  is the original post which I will keep for historical purposes.


I have grown weary in my years of advocacy about ethics and biotechnology, of hearing that “nobody” respectable supports reproductive cloning.  That simply isn’t true.  For example, Nobel Laureate Robert Edwards—who pioneered IVF—has supported reproductive cloning for childless couples.

To be sure, most science organizations oppose it “for now”—but that is primarily a political hedge to get therapeutic cloning government funded.  For example, the National Academy of Sciences has asserted that once cloning is “safe”—which would require countless experiments on cloned human embryos and fetuses—the issue should be revisited—an approach I call “anything goes in slow motion.”  From my piece on the NAS biotech ethical guidelines in the May 4, 2005 Weekly Standard:

What about reproductive cloning? The Guidelines merely refer to the NAS’s 2002 book, Scientific and Medical Aspects of Reproductive Cloning, which opined that bringing a cloned baby into the world “is not now appropriate”—the key word clearly being “now.” In this regard, it is important to note that the NAS’s opposition to reproductive cloning is not morally founded, but primarily based upon safety concerns. Indeed, Scientific and Medical Aspects suggested that the proposed reproductive cloning ban be “reviewed within five years”—a mere two years from now. In the meantime, cloning for research—which the NAS encourages—may be used to refine the cloning process to the point where the “safety” concern can ultimately be declared obsolete.

If human cloning is perfected, the NAS ethical dam made of twigs will collapse, and the sector will roar forward permitting no meaningful constraints—along the lines we have seen in the IVF baby manufacturing industry.

But sometimes candor prevails over political expediency.  As I wrote here a few days ago, pending legislation in MN would outlaw all human cloning via SCNT from the inception of the embryo—which is the true point of cloning, not some future use of the cloned embryo that we see in phony bans.  (No, it wouldn’t ban every conceivable method, but banning SCNT is a good thing).

In response, the Minnesota Medical Association has come out in opposition to the legislation, hardly a surprise, and in doing so, stated that the organization explicitly supports reproductive cloningFrom the story published in the March 17, 2001 MMA News:
The MMA supports research on multipotent stem cells (including adult and cord blood stem cells); using somatic cell nuclear transfer technology in biomedical research (therapeutic cloning); the use of somatic cell nuclear transfer technology for producing a human child (reproductive cloning), and strong public support of federal funding for research involving human pluripotent stem cells.

This is one reason why cloning must be prevented from ever starting—a view supported by the  UN General Assembly, which in an overwhelming vote, stated that human cloning is “incompatible with human dignity”

The only way to stop human cloning is to outlaw the inception of embryos via cloning. Period.  And, the only way to stop reproductive cloning is to do the same thing.  If this technology is ever successfully accomplished in humans, it will be Katy bar the door.

HT: David Prentice

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