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Further discussion of the ongoing human cloning debate.
In the late 1990s cloning was still the subject of passionate debate. While philosophers were crossing swords about the implications of the “Dolly technique” for the meaning of human identity, sweeping declarations were made by major international bodies such as the World Medical Association, UNESCO, and the World Health Organization that unanimously condemned human reproductive cloning as ethically unacceptable and/or contrary to human dignity. By now, the topic elicits a mere frown, sneer, sigh, or yawn from most bioethicists, depending on their temperament or mood. The same may hold true for those delegates at the United Nations who sat through many sessions that included the ominous agenda item entitled “international convention against reproductive cloning of human beings”.
Human cloning became an issue at the United Nations when the item was introduced at the request of France and Germany in 2001. The two countries limited their proposal to reproductive cloning. This move, although aiming quite reasonably at the formulation of a minimal consensus among member states, got at least Germany into some trouble at home, as critical voices from different parts of the political spectrum argued that Germany should rather pursue a comprehensive ban on human cloning for any purpose, which would be more in accordance with its own national …
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