Final Thoughts about the Beginning

In our final issue this semester we open up our pages to the debate over stem cell cloning and DNA testing. On February 28, the U. S. House of Representatives passed a ban on all human cloning and blocked funding for cloned stem cell research. Awaiting passage in the Senate, the bill will put a stop to all stem cell research, as well as, any future human cloning. Supporters of the bill argue that it is immoral to destroy a cloned embryo for research because it has potential as a human being even before implantation in the womb.

“Congress must act now,” said Rep. Sue Myrick, R-NC. “We can no longer wait for another biotech company to claim they have cloned children.” Anything other than a total ban “would license the most ghoulish and dangerous enterprise in human history,” she added.

“We cannot afford to treat the issue of human embryo cloning lightly,” said Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., co-author with Rep. Dave Weldon, R-Fla. of a complete ban bill. “The human race is not open to experimentation at any level, even the molecular level.”

Those against the bill argue that a research exemption must be allowed if scientists are to continue working towards cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and rheumatoid arthritis. Many other diseases are being examined for stem cell research benefits, but presently only those named have been successful in finding FDA approved treatments through stem cell research.

“I can’t see how it is moral to look in the eyes of someone with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s and say we’re going to stand in the way,” said Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass. McGovern said the bill “close[s] the door to important research.”

What do you think? Are we “playing God” by using stems cells to find cures for diseases? Should your DNA be used to identify or diagnose you? Should all human cloning be banned? What about stem cell cloning for research? Are we destroying life when stem cells cloned in a lab are used in research?

Send your letters and essays to us. We want to know what you think. In 600-900 words, support your position. Are you for or against stem cell research? Are you for or against human cloning? Are you for or against mandatory DNA identification for everyone, or only a selected few?

You can pick any topic related to stem cell research, DNA testing or human cloning and write an essay or a letter. We will pick two winners, one student and one WC community member who will each receive $50 for a total prize of $100. Submit your entry in the form of a Microsoft Word document (.doc) or Rich Text Format (.rtf) as an attachment, and e-mail it to us at no later than midnight April 26.