Krauthammer: Research Cloning “is not a slide down the slippery slope. This is downhill skiing.”

Date: 05/10/2002

In today’s Washington Post, columnist Charles Krauthammer, a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics – and a supporter of federally funded stem cell research – wrote the following about human research cloning:

What makes research cloning different from stem cell research — what pushes us over a moral frontier — is that for the first time it sanctions the creation of a human embryo for the sole purpose of using it for its parts. Indeed, it will sanction the creation of an entire industry of embryo manufacture whose explicit purpose is not creation of children but dismemberment for research.

It is the ultimate commodification of the human embryo. And it is a bridge too far. Reducing the human embryo to nothing more than a manufactured thing sets a fearsome desensitizing precedent that jeopardizes all the other ethical barriers we have constructed around embryonic research…..

Yesterday it was yes to stem cells with solemn assurances that there would be no embryo manufacture. Today we are told: Forget what we said about embryo manufacture; we now solemnly pledge that we will experiment on only the tiniest cloned embryo, and never grow it — and use it — beyond that early “blastocyst” stage.

What confidence can one possibly have in these new assurances? This is not a slide down the slippery slope. This is downhill skiing. And the way to stop it is to draw the line right now at the embryo manufacture that is cloning — not just because that line is right, but because the very notion of drawing lines is at stake.

Mr. Krauthammer’s full column can be found at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A63060-2002May9.html