Though the resulting torrent of words in the public media included almost no mention of cloning's relation to space travel and human-alien contact, discerning readers of CNI News will already recognize the possible links. For one, abductees often claim that cloning and hybridization are central to alien activities on earth. Aliens aside, the prospect of interstellar travel by humans -- still barely conceivable, yet much more realistic today than it was even a few years ago -- might necessarily include some form of cloning to provide "spare body parts," not to mention "replacement crew" in journeys lasting decades, or longer.
Regardless, crossing the threshold into a world where human cloning is real conjures enormous ethical and spiritual, as well as scientific, dilemmas. This text is based on stories in the Associated Press dated January 7 and 11 and a PRNewswire story on January 7.]
Chicago-based physicist Richard Seed, who stunned the world recently when he announced his intention to start cloning humans, says he's not concerned that President Clinton, among many others, is staunchly opposed to his plan. In answer to Clinton's request for legislation banning human cloning, Seed said he would just move his operation abroad if necessary.
"The scientific community ought to make it clear to Dr. Seed -- and I think the president will make it clear to Dr. Seed -- that he has elected to become irresponsible, unethical and unprofessional should he pursue the course that he outlined today," President Clinton's spokesman Mike McCurry said on January 7, following Seed's first announcement.
On Saturday, January 11, during his weekly radio address, Clinton called for quick action to ban human cloning research.
Meanwhile, Seed said he has received an outpouring of support from infertile couples.
"I have been enormously encouraged in just one day by calls I have received from infertile couples who are in tears," Seed said on "Fox News Sunday" on January 11. "They ... tell me things like 'Don't let them stop you.'"
Seed said he remains committed to attempt the cloning of a human child within the next two years. He will move his enterprise offshore to Tijuana, Mexico, if Congress bans human cloning in the United States, he declared.
The scientist -- called a visionary by his admirers and a renegade, or worse, by his critics -- faces virtually insurmountable opposition in the United States from scientists, ethicists and political leaders who are lining up to block his experiments.
"Dr. Seed will not do human cloning in this country," Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala vowed on CBS-TV's "Face the Nation."
After Scottish scientists cloned the adult sheep Dolly last February, President Clinton sent Congress a bill that would ban for at least five years the use of similar procedures to replicate human beings. Although that bill has not been acted upon, some congressional leaders now say they will push to pass the legislation.
"I think this is a nasty business, something that we should not be messing in," House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Tex., said.
Shalala said the term "mad scientist" came to mind as she listened to Seed's plans. She cast serious doubt on the physicist's qualifications to undertake such a project.
Not everyone is so sure.
Genetics researcher Dr. Robert H. Foote, a reproductive physiologist at Cornell University, said he thinks it is unlikely -- but not impossible -- that Seed can accomplish the task within his two-year time frame.
"We're still in a relative state of ignorance" about how to make this work, Foote said. "We don't know it can even be done in humans."
One of the biggest concerns among critics of Seed's plan is the likelihood that many failures would occur before success. Those failures, involving human embryos, might result in grotesque and tragic monstrosities.
Speaking for the Christian Medical & Dental Society (CMDS), executive director David Stevens, MD said, "Cloning Dolly involved the deaths of 277 developing embryos and resulted in some duplicate lambs being born with severe and lethal birth defects. Because of differences in the way sheep and human cells divide, cloning humans poses greater difficulty. As a result, even more deaths and lethal birth defects can be expected during experimentation. We all sympathize with infertile couples, but is it worth paying the price in human lives and suffering to come up with an experimental baby?"
President Clinton issued an executive order last year banning the use of any federal money for human cloning research. Several states have begun looking at a ban on human cloning, including Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin and Connecticut.
Original file name: CNI - Cloner defies Prez.final
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