Britain May OK Scientists’ Human Cloning With Patients’ Cells Without Consent

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 2, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Britain May OK Scientists’ Human Cloning With Patients’ Cells Without Consent

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 2
, 2008

London, England ( — On the heels of a British parliament vote to allow scientists to engage in human cloning by creating hybrids with animal and human DNA, the government proposes going even further. Officials have released new guidelines allowing scientists to use cells from dead people in human cloning efforts.

Researchers hope to create cells to use in studies about various diseases, but pro-life advocates say the cloning process sets an unethical precedent.

Parliament already approved the hybrid cloning amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill and this new cloning proposal will come in the form of another amendment to the measure.

Labour Party health ministers who are proposing the idea say scientists should be able to use stored human tissue from people who donated it as much as 30 years ago, even if they didn’t give their consent for it to be used in cloning experiments.

People who have died since then would have their cells used in cloning research without their consent.

If adopted, the new policy would change existing rules requiring the consent of donors to use their cells and would turn medical science on its ear by pursuing what pro-life advocates call a poor Machiavellian or utilitarian justification.

The amendment could be debated as early as this week.