"Life is a creation, not a commodity," President Bush said yesterday in voicing his opposition to human cloning. "Our children are gifts to be loved and protected, not products to be designed and manufactured. Allowing cloning would be taking a significant step toward a society in which human beings are grown for spare body parts, and children are engineered to custom specifications; and that's not acceptable."
When Dolly the sheep was born six years ago, after two hundred seventy-seven failed attempts, the floodgates of bioethics were officially opened. Within days, the world was buzzing about the morality and science of embryo cloning, and speculating about what was to come next.
Today, Dolly has half a dozen lambs of her own, and scientists say they're ready to move ahead with human cloning technology. Proponents say human cloning research can cure diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, spinal cord injuries, even cure cancer.
But critics — including the Vatican — call human cloning "grotesque." They warn that science isn't ready for this kind of human experiment.
Now, President Bush is urging Senators to pass a bill that would ban all human cloning. But some scientists say the bill would pull the breaks on good research, too. Is human cloning research the key to future medical advances? Or is it science's foray into a scary sci-fi world?
Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Robert P. Lanza, Medical Director of Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, MA
Sheryl Stolberg, Science Correspondent for the Washington Bureau of the New York Times
David Prentice, consultant to advocates in Congress of total ban on cloning, Professor of Life Sciences at Indiana State University
This program aired on April 11, 2002.