Monday, March 08, 2004

The Women Behind Cloning

"The Women Behind Cloning" is an opinion piece in today's Washington Post by Josephine Johnston, associate for ethics, law and society at the Hastings Center. It makes a serious point about the need to assure the ethical treatment of women donating eggs for cloning research, and for applied human cloning if that ever develops.

I could quibble. For example, it seems to me that some women are so altruistic that they would willingly and knowingly undergo the unpleasant procedures and take the risks to advance research; I see no ethical reason to deprive them of that opportunity if they choose it. She also implies that such women should not be financially compensated, but I seen no compelling ethical reason that egg donors should not be compensated for the expenses they incur in the process.

The real issue in my mind is how important is this ethical risk, as compared with those we accept every day. Millions of children are allowed to die each year from preventable diseases. Millions will die of AIDS this year, and will be deprived of the medicines that would keep them alive. We sit by and watch children soldiers kill each other in Africa, and refuse to intervene. The Washington Post has not provided editorial page coverage of these ethical atrocities for some time!

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