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Discussion 4 to Reflections on Ethics 13
Re: On cloning

by Hugo

Re: Discussion on Reflection 13

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In arguments about the morality of abortion, it is often debated exactly when a foetus/baby becomes conscious. In cloning, I think the same arguments apply.

I am "pro-choice" concerning abortion up to the accepted 24 week limit, because it is reasonable to assume that the foetus is definitely not conscious.

Cloned foetuses could be aborted if they showed signs of genetic defects.

(The controversial possibility that babies are not conscious even for up to a year after birth would mean that there is no moral difference between normal and "post-birth" abortion.)

I welcome the legalisation of human cloning for research purposes in the UK. I see no ethical problem with cloning and then destroying an embryo, since it is clearly not conscious. This will inevitably lead to advances in science and medicine, and possibly "designer babies".

There is no moral problem with successful cloning. There is essentially no difference between sheep and humans. Humans do not have moral "special status". If someone can disregard the moral problem of creating unhealthy sheep with low quality of life, then one can equally disregard the moral problem of creating unhealthy humans with low quality of life.

I think it abhorrent, but a "necessary evil" in the name of progress. But then I don't believe in absolute morality.