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LIBERTY Rabbi touts cloning humans



Published: Tue, June 19, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A ban on human cloning would violate reproductive and scientific freedom, a medical ethicist says.

By PETER H. MILLIKEN

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

LIBERTY -- A medical ethicist and a rabbi urged an audience here to keep an open mind concerning the cloning of human beings.

"A ban on cloning is surely inconsistent with the principle of reproductive freedom, and also violates the principle of freedom of inquiry," by scientists, said Brendan P. Minogue, professor of philosophy and religious studies at Youngstown State University.

Minogue, who is also professor of clinical bioethics at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, said cloning can be beneficial as another means of allowing infertile couples to have children.

"Judiasm is not unequivocally opposed to cloning. It sees cloning as falling under the rubric of mastering the world, which we have license to do," said Rabbi Lawrence Zierler, assistant director of the Jewish Community Center in Cleveland.

"There are ways to accommodate the opportunities that exist through cloning -- opportunities for reproduction under guarded situations," he added.

Speaker: The medical ethicist and rabbi spoke at a Monday evening forum at Temple El Emeth, which was sponsored by the Rosen Scholar in Residence Fund and attended by several dozen people, most of them temple members.

"Sometimes our fears can actually get in our way, and prevent us from securing really significant life-giving benefits," Minogue said.

Cloning is the process in which the nucleus of an egg cell is replaced with a nucleus from a non-reproductive cell of another living being, and the egg is electronically stimulated and implanted into a womb, producing a baby which is genetically identical to the person or animal from which the replacement nucleus came.

Many animals have been cloned. Most notably, a sheep named Dolly, was produced by cloning in Scotland several years ago. Although no human clone has yet been created, Minogue said it is now scientifically possible to produce one.

Banned in Europe: Cloning of human beings is banned in many European countries, Minogue said. Although it isn't banned in the United States, federal funds may not be used here for this purpose, he added.

Based on safety concerns, such as deformities found in animal clones, the National Bioethics Advisory Commission has urged a ban on human cloning in the United States.

However, Minogue said the commission was silent on what should happen when scientists resolve the safety concerns.




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