Human Genetic Engineering - A Hot Issue!
Human genetic engineering is a hot topic in the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government. Time will tell how committed the United States will be regarding the absolute ban on human cloning.
Human Genetic Engineering - Position of the U.S. Government
Human genetic engineering has made its way to Capitol Hill. On July 31, 2001, the House of Representatives passed a bill which would ban human cloning, not only for reproduction, but for medical research purposes as well. The Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2001, sponsored by Rep. Weldon (R-fL) and co-sponsored by over 100 Representatives, passed by a bipartisan vote of 265-to-162. The Act makes it unlawful to: "1) perform or attempt to perform human cloning, 2) participate in an attempt to perform cloning, or 3) ship or receive the product of human cloning for any purpose." The Act also imposes penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment and no less than $1,000,000 for breaking the law. The same bill, sponsored by Sen. Brownback (R-kS), is currently being debated in the Senate.
The White House also opposes "any and all attempts to clone a human being; [they] oppose the use of human somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning techniques either to assist human reproduction or to develop cell or tissue-based therapies."
Human Genetic Engineering - The Problems
There are many arguments against human genetic engineering, including the established safety issues, the loss of identity and individuality, and human diversity. With therapeutic cloning, not only do the above issues apply, but you add all the moral and religious issues related to the willful killing of human embryos. Maybe the greatest concern of all is that man would become simply another man-made thing. As with any other man-made thing, the designer "stands above [its design], not as an equal but as a superior, transcending it by his will and creative prowess." The cloned child will be dehumanized. (See, Leon Kass, Preventing a Brave New World: Why we should ban human cloning now, New Republic Online, May 21, 2001.)
Human Genetic Engineering - A Final Thought
Human genetic engineering leads to man usurping God as the almighty creator and designer of life. No longer will a child be considered a blessing from God, but rather, a product manufactured by a scientist. Man will be a created being of man. However, man was always intended to be a created being of God, in His absolute love, wisdom and glory.