WASHINGTON (March 9, 2001) -- On Sunday evening, March 11, the CBS program 60 Minutes (7 PM ET) will feature a segment on the widely discussed topic of cloning. Among those appearing on the program is Richard M. Doerflinger, Associate Director for Policy Development in the NCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.
Among the key points advanced by Mr. Doerflinger when interviewed for the 60 Minutes program are these:
- To an even greater extent than other reproductive technologies, cloning reduces human reproduction to mere manufacture in a laboratory. Instead of arising as a gift from an act of love between man and woman, a cloned child would be made to specifications, valued not for his or her uniqueness, but for certain traits already found to be valuable in someone else. Inevitably, cloned children would be placed under enormous pressure to "live up" to the person they have been copied from, instead of being respected as having their own lives to live and their own open future.
- People sometimes talk about human cloning as "playing God." More precisely, the problem here is that we are pretending to be gods and treating our own children as our created objects. All the usual relationships of parenthood and kinship are blurred and undermined in the process.
- Consider that cloning is often proposed as a way of creating human embryos for destructive experiments, to provide genetically matched cells and tissues for ailing patients. In any other context it would be considered abhorrent for human embryos to be created solely in order to be destroyed--but many scientists and others seem to think this is a "good enough" way to treat cloned children.
- Any production of new human beings by cloning should be banned from the outset.
- Catholic teaching does not oppose the use of cloning technologies to produce plants, animals or human cells other than embryos--research activities that raise ethical issues of their own but are not inherently contrary to human dignity as human cloning is.