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Cloning - Opinions Shape Public Policy

human research stem cell

The difficulty and low success rate of much animal reproductive cloning (an average of just one or two viable offspring result from every 100 attempts) and the as-yet-inadequate understanding about reproductive cloning have prompted many scientists and physicians to deem it unethical to attempt to clone humans. Many attempts to clone mammals have failed, and about one-third of clones born alive suffer from anatomical, physiological, or developmental abnormalities that are often debilitating. Some cloned animals have died prematurely from infections and other complications at rates higher than conventionally bred animals, and some researchers anticipate comparable outcomes from human cloning. Furthermore, scientists cannot yet describe or characterize how cloning influences intellectual and emotional development. While the attributes of intelligence, temperament, and personality may not be as important for cattle or other primates, they are vital for the health and well-being of humans. Without considering the myriad religious, spiritual, social, and other ethical concerns, the presence of so many unanswered questions about the science of reproductive cloning has prompted many investigators to consider any attempts to clone humans as scientifically irresponsible, unacceptably risky, and morally unallowable.

On August 9, 2001, President George W. Bush announced his decision to allow federal funds to be used for research on existing human embryonic stem cell lines as long as the derivation process (which begins with the removal of the inner cell mass from the blastocyst) had already been initiated and the embryo from which the stem cell line was derived no longer had the possibility of development as a human being. The president established the following criteria that research studies must meet to qualify for federal funding:

  • The stem cells must have been drawn from an embryo created for reproductive purposes that was no longer needed for these purposes.
  • Informed consent must have been obtained for the donation of the embryo and no financial inducements provided for donation of the embryo.

In January 2002 the Panel on Scientific and Medical Aspects of Human Cloning was convened by the National Academy of Sciences; the National Academy of Engineering; the Institute of Medicine Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy; and the National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life Studies Board on Life Sciences. Following the panel, a report was issued that called for a ban on human reproductive cloning. The report concluded that human reproductive cloning would be dangerous for the woman, fetus, and newborn, and was likely to fail. It cited as an example of potential harm the observation that since many eggs are needed for human reproductive cloning attempts, human experimentation might expose more women to health risks from high levels of hormones used to stimulate egg production or from the surgical procedures used to extract eggs, which are not risk-free.

The study panel did not address the issue of whether human reproductive cloning would be acceptable to society even if it became medically feasible and safe. The panel recommended a legally enforceable ban with substantial penalties as the best way to discourage human reproductive cloning experiments in both the public and private sectors. It cautioned that a voluntary measure might be ineffective because many of the technologies needed to accomplish human reproductive cloning are widely accessible in private clinics and other organizations that are not subject to federal regulations.

The panel did not, however, conclude that the scientific and medical considerations that justify a ban on human reproductive cloning are applicable to nuclear transplantation to produce stem cells. In view of their potential to generate new treatments for life-threatening diseases and advance biomedical knowledge, the panel recommended that biomedical research using nuclear transplantation to produce stem cells be permitted. Finally, the panel encouraged ongoing national discussion and debate about the range of ethical, societal, and religious issues associated with human cloning research.

On February 14, 2002, the world's largest general scientific organization, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) affirmed a legally enforceable ban on reproductive cloning; however, the AAAS supported therapeutic or research cloning using nuclear transplantation methods under appropriate government oversight. Similarly, the American Medical Association (AMA), a national physicians' organization, issued a formal public statement against human reproductive cloning. The AMA statement cautioned that human cloning failures could jeopardize promising science and genetic research and prevent biomedical researchers and patients from realizing the potential benefits of therapeutic cell cloning.

On April 10, 2002, President Bush called on the Senate to back legislation banning all types of human cloning. In his plea to the Senate, Bush said:

Science has set before us decisions of immense consequence. We can pursue medical research with a clear sense of moral purpose or we can travel without an ethical compass into a world we could live to regret. Science now presses forward the issue of human cloning. How we answer the question of human cloning will place us on one path or the other.… Human cloning is deeply troubling to me, and to most Americans. Life is a creation, not a commodity. Our children are gifts to be loved and protected, not products to be designed and manufactured. Allowing cloning would be taking a significant step toward a society in which human beings are grown for spare body parts, and children are engineered to custom specifications; and that's not acceptable.… I believe all human cloning is wrong, and both forms of cloning ought to be banned, for the following reasons. First, anything other than a total ban on human cloning would be unethical. Research cloning would contradict the most fundamental principle of medical ethics, that no human life should be exploited or extinguished for the benefit of another.

On September 25, 2002, Elias Zerhouni, the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education in favor of advancing the field of stem cell research. Zerhouni exhorted Congress to continue to fund both human embryonic stem cell research and adult stem cell research simultaneously in order to learn as much as possible about the potential of both types of cells to treat human disease. He observed that many studies that do not involve human subjects must be performed before any new therapy is tested on human patients. These preclinical studies include tests of the long-term survival and fate of transplanted cells, as well as tests of the safety, toxicity, and effectiveness of the cells in treating specific diseases in animals. Zerhouni promised that trials using human subjects, the clinical research phase, would begin only after the basic foundation had been established.

Zerhouni explained NIH plans to increase the number of stem cell researchers by making this research attractive to most talented research scientists and soliciting grant applications to support training courses to teach investigators how best to grow stem cells into useful lines. He also described NIH efforts to address issues that restrict widespread availability of these stem cell sources, such as NIH agreements with four stem cell providers to allow researchers access to their cells.

Moral and Ethical Objections to Human Cloning

People who argue against human cloning are as varied as the interests and institutions they support. Religious leaders, scientists, politicians, philosophers, and ethicists have argued against the morality and acceptability of human cloning. Nearly all objections hinge, to various degrees, on the definition of human life, beliefs about its sanctity, and the potentially adverse consequences for families and society as a whole.

In an effort to stimulate consideration of and debate about this critical issue, the President's Council on Bioethics examined the principal moral and ethical objections to human cloning in Human Cloning and Human Dignity: An Ethical Inquiry (Washington, DC: 2002). The Council's report distinguished between therapeutic and reproductive cloning and outlined key concerns by posing and endeavoring to respond to many as yet unresolved questions about the ethics, morality, and societal consequences of human cloning.

The Council determined that the key moral and ethical objections to therapeutic cloning—cloning for biological research—center on the moral status of developing human life. Therapeutic cloning involves the deliberate production, use, and ultimately, destruction of cloned human embryos. One reason opponents object to therapeutic cloning is that cloned embryos produced for research are no different from those that could be used in attempts to create cloned children. Another argument that has been made is that the means do not justify the ends—that research on any human embryo is morally unacceptable, even if this research promises cures for many dreaded diseases. Finally, there are concerns that acceptance of therapeutic cloning will lead society down the "slippery slope" to reproductive cloning, a prospect that is almost universally viewed as unethical and morally unacceptable.

The unacceptability of human reproductive cloning stems from the fact that it challenges the basic nature of human procreation, redefining having children as a form of manufacturing. Human embryos and children may then be viewed as products and commodities rather than sacred and unique lives. Further, reproductive cloning might substantially change fundamental issues of human identity and individuality, and by allowing parents unprecedented genetic control of their offspring, has the potential to significantly alter family relationships across generations.

The Council concluded that "the right to decide" whether to have a child does not include the right to have a child by any means possible, nor does it include the right to decide the kind of child one is going to have. A societal commitment to freedom does not require use or acceptance of every technological innovation available.

Legislation Aims to Completely Ban Human Cloning

On February 27, 2003, the House of Representatives voted to outlaw all forms of human cloning. The legislation, which passed with a vote count of 241 to 155, prohibits the creation of cloned human embryos for medical research as well as the creation of cloned babies. It contains strong sanctions, imposing a maximum penalty of $1 million in civil fines and as many as ten years in jail for violations. The measure did not pass in the Senate, which is closely divided about whether therapeutic cloning should be prohibited along with reproductive cloning. In early February 2003 President Bush issued a policy statement that strongly supported a total ban on cloning. In the Senate two bills were introduced: S.245 was a complete ban intended to amend the Public Health Service Act to prohibit all human cloning, and S.303 was a less sweeping measure that also prohibited cloning but protected stem cell research.

In 2003 a total of five bills were introduced in the House and two in the Senate. The House did not hold any hearings, although it passed H.R. 534, the Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2003. H.R. 534 would prohibit both reproductive and therapeutic cloning and institute a criminal penalty of up to ten years in prison for violations. The Senate held three hearings on cloning in 2003. Two were held by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space and one by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

While nearly all lawmakers concur that Congress should ban reproductive cloning, many disagree about whether legislation should also ban the creation of cloned human embryos that serve as sources of embryonic stem cells. Many legislators agree with scientists that stem cells derived from cloned human embryos have medical and therapeutic advantages over those derived from conventional embryos or adults. Those who oppose the legislation calling for a total ban assert that the aim of allowing research is to relieve the suffering of people with degenerative diseases. They say that the bill's sponsors are effectively thwarting advances in medical treatment and biomedical innovation.

Supporters of the total ban contend that Congress must send an unambiguous message that cloning research and experimentation will not be tolerated. They consider cloning immoral and unethical, fear unintended consequences of cloning, and feel they speak for the public when they assert that it is not justifiable to create human embryos simply for the purpose of experimenting on them and then destroying them.

The range of positions on cloning in Congress is reflected in the sweeping bans already enacted in Iowa and Michigan, as well as the California prohibition against reproductive cloning. Several states impose civil penalties for violations, while Michigan has instituted criminal penalties.

On March 11, 2003, the AAAS held a workshop to discuss the legal and scientific considerations of regulatory issues governing human cloning initiatives. In Regulating Human Cloning, a report summarizing the event, the AAAS described a range of ethical and operational issues, including:

  • Concerns about egg donation—the sources of donor eggs and the mechanisms to prevent conflicts of interest among physicians, researchers, research sites, and fertility clinics
  • Research procedures—development of and consensus about stringent guidelines for responsible conduct of research cloning, including provisions that embryos may not be allowed to develop beyond fourteen days
  • Risk assessment—the role of existing regulatory agencies in preventing errors, misuse of technology, and illicit reproductive cloning
  • Access and delivery of products—determining who will gain access to new or unique therapies and whether the Food and Drug Administration would have to approve each derived stem cell line
  • Regulatory structure—centralized or collaborative agency oversight and development of entirely new regulatory agencies

The fact that there are only about twenty available stem cell lines prompted the introduction of bills during the spring of 2004 that would require funding for human embryonic stem cell research, despite the President's 2001 policy. On April 28, 2004, more than 200 members of the House and Senate sent letters to the President arguing in favor of an expansion of existing policy. Pleas from patient advocacy groups—along with the death of former President Ronald Reagan from Alzheimer's disease on June 5, 2004, and Nancy Reagan's appeals to expand the policy—focused considerable media attention on the issue during the summer of 2004. On June 9, 2004, H.R. 4531, the Ronald Reagan Memorial Stem Cell Research Act of 2004, was introduced. It required that:

  • The Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of NIH, conduct and support research using human embryonic stem cells
  • Research be conducted in accordance with the guidelines published in 2000; this requirement would apply regardless of any federal administrative policies established after the publication of such guidelines, including restrictions on the sources of human embryonic stem cells
  • The amount of $87 million in FY 2005 and such sums as may be necessary thereafter be appropriated to fund the research

In addition to H.R. 4531, on March 11, 2004, the House introduced H.R. 3960, the Stem Cell Replenishment Act of 2004, which would permit federal funds to be used for research on human embryonic stem cells and require the NIH to revise the guidelines published in 2000 to ensure the availability of not less than sixty stem cell lines for research purposes. In June 2004 H.R. 4682, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2004, was introduced. H.R. 4682 would support research with human embryonic stem cells that meets the following criteria:

  • The stem cells must be derived from embryos that were created for fertility purposes, but not used, and donated from in vitro fertilization clinics.
  • Prior to consideration of embryo donation, it must be determined that the embryos will never be implanted in a woman and would otherwise be discarded.
  • Donation must be made with written informed consent and without any financial or other inducements.

The following month H.R. 4812, the Stem Cell Discovery through Diversity Act, was introduced. H.R. 4812 required the director of the NIH to conduct and support research using human embryonic stem cells. H.R. 4812 would prohibit the use of federal funds to derive such stem cells, establish an office within the Office of the Director of NIH (the Ronald Reagan Office of Human Stem Cell Research) to coordinate human embryonic stem cell research, and require the director of the NIH to ensure that the program includes donations from a significant number of individuals who are members of racial or ethnic minority groups. By the spring of 2005 no further action had been taken on any of the legislation introduced in 2004.

State Human Cloning Laws

As of 2005, ten states had enacted legislation that addresses human cloning. California was the first state to ban reproductive cloning in 1997. Since then, eight other states—Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, Rhode Island, North Dakota, Virginia, New Jersey, and South Dakota—have passed laws prohibiting reproductive cloning. Missouri forbids the use of public funds for human cloning research. Louisiana also enacted legislation that prohibited reproductive cloning, but the law expired in July 2003. Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, North Dakota, and South Dakota laws also prohibit therapeutic cloning. The Rhode Island law does not prohibit cloning for research, and California and New Jersey human cloning laws specifically permit cloning for the purpose of research. (See Table 8.1.)

State laws regulating the cloning of human beings, March 2004

State Statute citation Summary Prohibits reproductive cloning Prohibits therapeutic cloning Expiration
Arkansas Senate bill 185 (2003) Prohibits therapeutic and reproductive cloning; may not ship, transfer or receive the product of human cloning; human cloning is punishable as a Class C felony and by a fine of not less than $250,000 or twice the amount of pecuniary gain that is received by the person or entity, which ever is greater yes yes
California Business and professions §16004, §16105, Health & safety §24185, §24187, §24189, §12115-7 Prohibits reproductive cloning; permits embryonic stem cell research, including the use of cloned embryos; provides for the revocation of licenses issued to businesses for violations relating to human cloning; prohibits the purchase or sale of ovum, zygote, embryo, or fetus for the purpose of cloning human beings; establishes civil penalties yes no
Iowa 707B.1 to 4 Prohibits human cloning for any purpose; prohibits transfer or receipt of a cloned human embryo for any purpose, or of any oocyte, human embryo, fetus, or human somatic cell, for the purpose of human cloning; human cloning punishable as Class C felony; shipping or receiving punishable as aggravated misdemeanor; if violation of the law results in pecuniary gain, then the individual is liable for twice the amount of gross gain; a violation is grounds for revoking licensure or denying or revoking certification for a trade or occupation yes yes
Michigan §§333.26401 to 06; §333.16274, §16275, §20197, §750.430a Prohibits human cloning for any purpose and prohibits the use of state funds for human cloning; establishes civil and criminal penalties yes yes
Missouri §1.217 Bans use of state funds for human cloning research which seeks to develop embryos into newborn child Prohibits the use of state funds no
New Jersey Senate bill 1909/administrative bulletin 2840 (2002–2003) Permits human cloning for stem cell research; prohibits reproductive cloning, which is punishable as a crime in the first degree; prohibits sale or purchase, but not donation, or embryonic or fetal tissue, which is punishable as a crime in the third degree and a fine of up to $50,000 yes no
North Dakota 2003 house bill 1424 Prohibits reproductive and therapeutic cloning; transfer or receipt of the product of human cloning; transfer or receipt, in whole or in part, of any occyte, human embryo, human fetus, or human somatic cell, for the purpose of human cloning; cloning or attempt to clone punishable as a class C felony; shipping or receiving violations punishable as class A misdemeanor yes yes
Rhode Island §23-16.4-1 to 4-4 Prohibits human cloning for the purpose of initiating a pregnancy; for a corporation, firm, clinic, hospital, laboratory, or research facility, punishable by a civil penalty punishable by fine of not more than $1,000,000, or in the event of pecuniary gain, twice the amount of gross gain, whichever is greater; for an individual or an employee of the firm, clinic, hospital, laboratory, or research facility acting without the authorization of the firm, clinic, hospital, or research facility, punishable by a civil penalty punishable by fine of not more than $250,000, or in the event of pecuniary gain, twice the amount of gross gain, whichever is greater yes no July 7, 2010

California Leads the Way

In 2002 the California State Legislature passed a law encouraging therapeutic cloning. Despite the fact that there were no provisions for funds in the law, the move was interpreted as support for the research. The following year a bill to fund the research failed, so in 2004 stem cell research advocates offered voters a sweeping ballot measure—Proposition 71—to make public funding available to support stem cell research and therapeutic cloning. Proposition 71 was championed by Robert Klein, a wealthy real estate developer and father of a child with diabetes who might benefit from the research. It also received considerable financial support from Microsoft founder Bill Gates to finance campaign advertising and lobbying.

On November 2, 2004, Californians voted in Proposition 71, a ballot measure with the potential to make the state a leader in human embryonic stem cell research. Proposition 71 enabled the state to establish its own research institute—The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine—which prohibits reproductive cloning but will fund human cloning projects designed to create stem cells and allocate $3 billion over ten years in research funds that the Bush administration has to date refused to provide. Californians voted in favor of stem cell research in the hope that it will become the biggest, most important, and most profitable medical advancement of the twenty-first century. The legislation's supporters hoped to use these funds to attract top researchers and become the epicenter of groundbreaking, lifesaving, and potentially lucrative medical research.

A number of organizational and ethical questions about California's plan to publicly fund human cloning TABLE 8.1
State laws regulating the cloning of human beings, March 2004 [CONTINUED]
SOURCE: "State Human Cloning Laws," National Conference of State Legislatures, March 12, 2004, March 14, 2005)

State Statute citation Summary Prohibits reproductive cloning Prohibits therapeutic cloning Expiration
South Dakota 2004 Senate bill 184 Prohibits reproductive and therapeutic cloning; transfer or receipt of the product of human cloning; transfer or receipt, in whole or in part, of any oocyte, human embryo, human fetus, or human somatic cell, for the purpose of human cloning; cloning or attempt to clone is punishable as a felony and a civil penalty of two thousand dollars or twice the amount of gross gain, or any intermediate yes yes
Virginia §32.1-162.32-2 Prohibits reproductive cloning; may prohibit therapeutic cloning but it is unclear because human being is not defined in the definition of human cloning; human cloning defined as the creation of or attempt to create a human being by transferring the nucleus from a human cell from whatever source into an oocyte from which the nucleus has been removed; also prohibits the implantation or attempted implantation of the product of somatic cell nuclear transfer into an uterine environment so as to initiate a pregnancy; the possession of the product of human cloning; and the shipping or receiving of the product of a somatic cell nuclear transfer in commerce for the purpose of implantation of such product into an uterine environment so as to initiate a pregnancy. The law establishes civil penalty not to exceed $50,000 for each incident. yes unclear

projects for medical research remained unresolved in the spring of 2005. Among them is how to obtain the thousands of eggs needed to conduct the research. Concern about donor egg procurement has been expressed by a variety of Christian groups that consider cloning an immoral act that wantonly creates and destroys life for scientific purposes. Women's rights organizations also expressed concern, asserting that the potential for exploitation of poor women exists when profit-driven companies in need of donor eggs offer to pay women to take fertility drugs and harvest their eggs. They fear that some women may experience long-term adverse health consequences as a result of using fertility drugs. Testifying before a California State Legislative committee on March 9, 2005, Francine Coeytaux of the Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research said, "This new technology will require eggs from thousands of women. Women will be the first human subjects of Proposition 71" (Paul Elias, "Cloning Sparks Concern over Egg Donors," Associated Press, March 10, 2005,

Opposing Viewpoints about Nuclear
Transplantation Research

The AAAS report summarized the arguments for and against nuclear transplantation research, the technology that is used for cloning. Those who favor this technology include scientists, patient advocacy groups, and the biotechnology industry. They perceive the debate about the moral and legal status of human embryos as relatively unimportant when compared to the prospect of cures arising from research using nuclear transplantation. They contend that a ban on implantation of the product of nuclear transplantation would be no more difficult to enforce than a ban on nuclear transplantation itself. They also fear that imposing criminal sanctions on scientific research would discourage innovation, limit research efforts, and effectively impede medical progress.

Opponents include religious conservatives, who assert that human embryos must be treated as human beings and as such should not be harmed or destroyed, even for the purpose of research. They contend that permitting nuclear transplantation would inevitably lead to reproductive cloning, because a ban on implantation would be nearly impossible to enforce. In an unusual alliance, religious conservatives are united in this stance with medical ethicists and environmental and women's rights activists, who may support nuclear transplantation but believe that it should be completely banned until its safety and effectiveness are ensured.

Changing Views about Cloning

An ABC News/Beliefnet Poll, conducted by telephone in August 2001, found that while 63% of Americans surveyed favored stem cell research, the majority opposed any form of cloning. Three-fifths (63%) opposed therapeutic cloning, and even more (87%) think human cloning should be against the law. Religion seemingly plays a part in such opinions—while 79% of evangelical Protestants and 65% of Catholics felt therapeutic cloning should be illegal, smaller numbers of nonevangelical Protestants (53%) and those who listed no religion (46%) felt the same way.

The December 2001 Gallup Poll survey "Americans Oppose Idea of Human Cloning," conducted following the Senate's failed attempt to impose a six-month moratorium on human embryo cloning, reported that opposition to reproductive cloning was overwhelming but that a majority of Americans (54%) supported therapeutic cloning for purposes of medical research or treatment. Americans opposed cloning for a variety of reasons: they felt it was at odds with their religious beliefs; they believed it interfered with distinctiveness and individuality; they feared it may be used for questionable purposes; and they were concerned that the technology used to clone may be dangerous.

The same analysis found that men were more supportive of therapeutic cloning than women were, and younger Americans were more supportive than were older Americans. Of Americans under age fifty, 60% supported therapeutic cloning, compared with 46% of those ages fifty and above. There were only slight differences in support according to political party, but those who described themselves as liberals (64%) and moderates (62%) were more supportive than those who called themselves conservatives (44%).

Interestingly, the February 2001 Time/CNN Poll asked Americans about specific circumstances in which human cloning would be justified. The greatest support (28%) was for producing copies of vital human organs to help save lives. About one in five respondents felt cloning would be justified either to save the life of the person being cloned or to help infertile couples to have children. The poll also found that most Americans do not expect that cloning will be possible or commonplace in the near future. Less than half (45%) of Americans felt it would be possible to create human clones in the next ten years, and 15% of respondents said it would never be possible to clone humans.

A May 2002 Gallup Poll found a subtle shift in public opinions about cloning. Although there was still resounding opposition to reproductive cloning—90% of those surveyed opposed it—there was far less opposition to therapeutic cloning. Only 37% of survey participants opposed cloning human organs or body parts for use in medical transplantation, and less than half (44%) opposed cloning human cells for use in medical research. Those who attended church regularly and those living in the Midwest and the South tended to disapprove of cloning more strongly. As expected, there was also a relationship between attitudes about abortion and about cloning, with 50% of Americans who described themselves as "pro-choice" favoring the cloning of human embryos and three-quarters of self-defined "pro-life" Americans opposing it.

Although the majority of all Americans staunchly opposed cloning for the purposes of creating a human being, reproductive cloning was favored by three times as many men as women. Similarly, more men than women favored using technology to clone human cells from adults for use in medical research.

The May 2002 Gallup Poll revealed that the overwhelming majority of Americans persisted in their belief that human and animal cloning are morally wrong, though there was somewhat more support for animal cloning than for human cloning. Americans objected not only to human cloning, but also to cloning pet animals, and the majority also opposed the cloning of endangered species to keep them from becoming extinct.

The December 27, 2002, announcement that a private firm had allegedly cloned a human baby sparked renewed public debate about cloning. A January 2003 Gallup Poll found that Americans remained strongly opposed to legalizing human cloning. In the January 14, 2003, Gallup Organization briefing "Americans View a Brave New World of Cloning," correspondent Deborah Jordan Brooks concluded that "the public is not, however, universally opposed to all kinds of cloning efforts. Many distinguish between cloning human cells for medical research and organs and body parts for medical transplants, and that designed to result in the actual birth of a human being."

In May 2004 another Gallup Poll found that slightly more Americans felt that cloning animals was acceptable than in the previous year, but the moral acceptability of cloning humans remained about the same—7% in 2001 and 2002 versus 9% in 2004. (See Table 8.2 and Table 8.3.) Still, the gap between the perceived moral acceptability of cloning animals and humans looms large. Twice as many Americans feel it is morally wrong to clone animals (64% versus 32%), while 88% see human cloning as morally wrong; just 9% believe it is morally acceptable.

Similarly, Americans' views about stem cell research were essentially unchanged from 2002 to 2004. In 2004 a scant 2% more respondents deemed medical research using stem cells as morally acceptable. (See Table 8.4.) Slightly more than half (54%) felt stem cell research was acceptable, while 37% believed it was morally wrong. (See Table 8.4.) Interestingly, despite their largely Republican political affiliations, affluent Americans tend to hold more liberal views about stem cell research and cloning than less well-to-do Americans. Forty-two percent of wealthier respondents believed it was morally acceptable to clone animals compared with 27% of less affluent respondents; 9% more affluent respondents than nonaffluent respondents felt it was morally acceptable to conduct embryonic stem cell research. (See Figure 8.6.)


An August 2003 Gallup Youth Survey asked teens whether they believed cloning animals and humans is TABLE 8.2
Public opinion on the moral acceptability of cloning animals, 2001–04
SOURCE: "Cloning Animals," in "Moral Issues," Poll Topics and Trends, TheGallup Organization, 2005, March 7, 2005) Copyright © 2005 by The Gallup Organization. Reproduced by permission of The Gallup Organization.

Morally acceptable Morally wrong Depends on situation Not a moral issue No opinion
2004 May 2–4 32% 64 1 1 2
2003 May 5–7 29% 68 1 * 2
2002 May 6–9 29% 66 3 1 1
2001 May 10–14 31% 63 2 1 3

Public opinion on the moral acceptability of cloning humans, 2001–04
SOURCE: "Cloning Humans," in "Moral Issues," Poll Topics and Trends, TheGallup Organization, 2005, (accessed March 7, 2005) Copyright © 2005 by The Gallup Organization. Reproduced by permission of The Gallup Organization.

Morally acceptable Morally wrong Depends on situation Not a moral issue No opinion
2004 May 2–4 9% 88 1 * 2
2003 May 5–7 8% 90 1 * 1
2002 May 6–9 7% 90 2 * 1
2001 May 10–14 7% 88 1 1 3

Public opinion on the moral acceptability of medical research using stem cells from human embryos, 2001–04
SOURCE: "Medical Research Using Stem Cells Obtained from HumanEmbryos," in "Moral Issues," Poll Topics and Trends, The GallupOrganization, 2005, (accessed March 7, 2005) Copyright © 2005 by The Gallup Organization. Reproducedby permission of The Gallup Organization.

Morally acceptable Morally wrong Depends on situation Not a moral issue No opinion
2004 May 2–4 54% 37 3 * 6
2003 May 5–7 54% 38 3 * 5
2002 May 6–9 52% 39 2 1 6

morally acceptable or morally wrong. The majority of teens said that cloning animals and humans is morally wrong. Just 20% of the teens surveyed felt that cloning humans is morally acceptable. (See Figure 8.7.)

Girls were less likely than boys to find cloning acceptable. Twice as many boys (43%) as girls (20%) said they believed that cloning animals is morally acceptable, and three times as many boys (30%) as girls (10%) felt that cloning humans is morally acceptable. (See Figure 8.8.) Not unexpectedly, attitudes varied widely among teens who attended church or synagogue regularly FIGURE 8.6
Public opinion on moral issues, based on income category,

SOURCE: Raksha Arora, "Opinions on Moral Issues: Affluents vs. Non-Affluents," in "There's More to Mass Affluents Than Wealth," Poll Analyses, The Gallup Organization, December 28, 2004, (accessed March 8, 2005) Copyright © 2004 by The Gallup Organization. Reproduced by permission of The Gallup Organization.
Public opinion of teens on the morality of selected scientific
issues, 2003

SOURCE: Linda Lyons, "Teen Views on Morality of Scientific Issues," in "Medical, Biotech Issues Test Teens' Moral Views," Poll Analyses, The Gallup Organization, November 25, 2003, (accessed March 8, 2005) Copyright © 2003 by The Gallup Organization. Reproduced by permission of The Gallup Organization.
Public opinion of teens on the morality of selected scientific
issues, by gender, 2003

SOURCE: Linda Lyons, "Percentage Saying Morally Acceptable, by Gender," in "Medical, Biotech Issues Test Teens' Moral Views," in Poll Analyses, The Gallup Organization, November 25, 2003, (accessed March 8, 2005) Copyright © 2003 by The Gallup Organization. Reproduced by permission of The Gallup Organization.
and those who did not. Far fewer churchgoing teens found cloning animals to be morally acceptable (23% compared with 39%). The gap was even greater when it came to cloning humans—just 9% of churchgoing teens deemed it morally acceptable compared with 29% of nonchurchgoers. (See Figure 8.9.)

Public opinion of teens on the morality of selected scientific
issues, by church attendance habits, 2003

SOURCE: Linda Lyons, "Percentage Saying Morally Acceptable, by Church Attendance," in "Medical, Biotech Issues Test Teens' Moral Views," Poll Analyses, The Gallup Organization, November 25, 2003, (accessed March 8, 2005) Copyright © 2003 by The Gallup Organization. Reproduced by permission of The Gallup Organization.

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