Unit 4. The Case for Cloning: Legal Aspects
Terms of Discussion

Before reading the texts, explain the following notions.

  • legal/illegal
  • moratorium
  • ban
  • to legalise
  • legal status
  • to enact legislation
  • to introduce legislation
  • scientific community


Question Time

Using your background knowledge, answer the following questions.

  1. Do you think the law should regulate such issues as scientific research?
  2. Can a ban on cloning research stop the scientific development in this area?


Time for Reading

What do you do with a Genie out of the Bottle? It is impossible to reverse knowledge, but it is society's prerogative to state which pieces of knowledge should remain unused - "can do" never implies "must do". It is illegal to clone a human being in the US, for example, but it would not be beyond human perversity for someone to try to do it elsewhere in the world. It would appear that some are attracted by the idea, but maybe they have not fully understood the implications. Even supposing someone would try, there are many serious obstacles to be overcome. There is firstly the risk of imprisonment. A scientist would take the risk of ostracism from a disapproving medical and scientific establishment, and know that a journal would possibly refuse to publish any paper on the subject. Then he or she would have to persuade or induce dozens of people to take part in prolonged illegal experiments. It would need donors, egg cell recipients and surrogate mothers in fairly large numbers, to take part in experiments.

There are many reasons why what is scientifically possible is not always done. It is a commonplace that most active research scientists create far more potential research ideas than they have the time, people and money to pursue.



To Ban Or Not To Ban?

EUROPE: In January 1998, officials of 19 European states signed an agreement outlawing human cloning.

"Nothing will be resolved by banning certain practices in one country if scientists and doctors can simply work on them elsewhere," French President Jacques Chirac told a conference of Europe's national ethics committees. "It is only at the international level that we will be able to prohibit cloning and genetic manipulation that could alter the characteristics of the human race," he said in opening the conference.

Troubled by a US scientist Richard Seed’s stated desire to clone a human, President Clinton called for a five-year ban on human cloning experiments. Richard Seed, a Harvard University-educated physicist, caused an uproar when he said he was ready to set up a clinic to clone human babies and predicted that as many as 200,000 human clones a year would be produced once his process was perfected. He boasted that he could produce a human clone within 18 months.

Significantly, Britain was not among the 19 members of the 40-member Council of Europe which signed the anti- cloning agreement.

The accord prohibits "any intervention seeking to create a human being genetically identical to another human being, whether living or dead." It rules out any exception to the ban. The text, which became a part of the European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, allows the cloning of cells for research purposes.

The agreement will become binding on the signatories as soon as it has been ratified in five states. Signatories were Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Moldova, Norway, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Macedonia and Turkey.



***

THE US: Lawmakers have prepared legislation to ban human cloning after a Chicago physicist announced plans to produce a "bouncing baby clone" by the end of 1999. Seed says if he is barred from establishing the clinic in the United States, he will set up a laboratory in Mexico.

In Illinois, a bill has been introduced to make human cloning a felony punishable by up to three years in prison. The measure also bans public funds for human cloning research. A Connecticut measure imposes a five-year sentence and a $5,000 fine.

Most proposed bans on human cloning would still leave plenty of legal loopholes for Richard Seed or other scientific mavericks who want to make carbon copies of people. Even if permanent ban on cloning embryos had not been voted down in Senate, there would still be ways around it for a determined cloner and his lawyers.

Besides, the bans against creating a genetically identical human being might not apply to the creation of a headless organ donor, which some might argue, does not count as an individual.

Nevertheless, some experts state that the cloning debate is fuelled by ignorance and a fear that the technology is running amok. As a result, the debate is tackling the wrong questions.



***

Within days of the published report on Dolly, President Clinton instituted a ban on federal funding related to attempts to clone human beings. In addition, the President asked the recently appointed National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) to address within ninety days the ethical and legal issues that surround the subject of cloning human beings. This provided a welcome opportunity for initiating a thoughtful analysis of the many dimensions of the issue, including a careful consideration of the potential risks and benefits. It also presented an occasion to review the current legal status of cloning and the potential constitutional challenges that might be raised if new legislation were enacted to restrict the creation of a child through somatic cell nuclear transfer cloning.

There are, however, no current federal regulations on the use of private funds for this purpose.

The Commission came to the following conclusions and recommendations:

  • to continue the existing moratorium on federal funding of any effort to create a child through somatic cell nuclear transfer, and to emphasise that the intent of this moratorium is to cover any effort to use federal funds for this technology whether in a clinical or research setting.
  • to obtain the agreement of the private sector to abide by the spirit of the federal moratorium.
  • to prohibit efforts to clone human beings by federal statute.
  • to facilitate public education and debate, in preparing for legislative action, if any, and to carry on a national discussion about the uses of cloning technology.
  • to cooperate with other nations to enforce any common elements of policies regarding efforts to clone human beings.


***

A democracy is designed to facilitate a balance between competing interests, to achieve the maximum benefit for the maximum number of its citizens. The introduction of new technology challenges a democratic society to decide who gets what, when, where, and how much. The advent of cloning presents the inevitability of new and important social changes, and new issues concerning this power, and who controls it, are at hand.



Did You Know?


Is human cloning banned because it is dangerous?

In fact, cloning is safer than conventional reproduction, because the resulting offspring is known to have no significant hereditary birth defects. Government decisions are not necessarily correct. Remember that the US government once banned interracial marriages, or the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
People often call cloning "a dangerous new technology" and compare it to nuclear technology but it is hard to see how dropping a clone from a height of 30,000 ft can hurt anybody (except of course the clone)!


Will humans be cloned to provide organs for transplant?

It is preposterous to think that any human will not enjoy full legal rights merely because he or she was produced by cloning instead of sexual intercourse. Nobody will have any more right to seize a clones' kidney than anybody else's. However, there could be laboratories that can clone organs only - just a heart, for instance.


Did You Get It?

I. Answer the following questions.

  1. What are the possible risks for a scientist who is involved in cloning research?
  2. Why are things that are scientifically possible not always done in practice?
  3. What agreement did the leading European states sign?
  4. Did Great Britain join the treaty on cloning?
  5. Why did Richard Seed’s idea of setting up a clinic cause a world-wide response?
  6. Were any exceptions to the cloning research ban provided by the treaty?
  7. What are the signatories of the treaty?
  8. What is the current US legislation on human cloning?
  9. Why are some US legislators concerned about the possible loopholes in the proposed legislation?
  10. What are the primary goals of the US National Bioethics Advisory Commission?
  11. What are the areas covered by the recent recommendations of the Commission?


II. Study the words and expressions in the boxes below and explain their meaning. Complete the following texts with these expressions, using them in the appropriate form.

A.
back street clinic, value systems, scientific community, ethical consideration, allow, professional principles, to pioneer legislation, ban, illegal, facilitate, treaty.


In 1990 the UK ___________ making human cloning research __________ , but currently it is allowed in the USA and several European countries with very different ____________. Some form of international ________ should be called for according to which no country would ________ cloning research to be carried over from humans to animals. Realistically, there would be no way to stop a _____________ or a dictatorship from ignoring such a treaty, but the lines need to be drawn.

A second line of defence is also called for - the notion of the ethical scientist, for whom it would be against all _______________ to pursue such research. Some have argued that research should be permitted for the sake of transplant organs. This would require more careful ______________, but the danger of a "slippery slope" to full human cloning would be looming over such an enterprise. Some legislators have sought to ________ human cloning and cloning research. The ____________ has successfully lobbied for research freedom, claiming that cloning studies could __________ coping with medical illnesses without ever having to actually create humans.

B.
widespread deliberation, ethical conduct, pluralistic society, moral issues, at stake, moratorium, funding, re-examination.


In October 1995 President Clinton created the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) to provide advice and recommendations regarding principles of governing the ___________ of cloning research. In June 1997 , NBAC Chairman recommended to President Clinton a ____________ on all federal __________ of human cloning research. The Committee also recommended a ______________ of the issue after a 3-to-5 years period of study. After this period of debate and discussion, NBAC will recommend an ethical code governing human cloning. ‘We feel quite strongly that most of the legal and _________________ raised can only be resolved, even temporarily, by a great deal more _________________ and education. This type of national discussion is especially necessary in a democratic and _______________ for the following reasons: there is no universally accepted ethical theory; Americans hold various religious and moral perspectives on these issues; conflicting values are _______________ .’



C. Using the passages above as reference material, compare the European and the American attitudes towards the issue of the legalisation of cloning research.



Words, Words, Words...
I. Explain the meaning of the following words and expressions and recall the context in which they were used in the Unit.

1. to imply/ to understand the implication
2. human perversity
3. to overcome an obstacle
4. the risk of imprisonment
5. to pursue an idea
6. to cause an uproar
7. to be perfected
8. to prepare legislation
9. felony
10. to impose a sentence/a fine
11. legal loopholes
12. maverick
13. to be voted down
14. a determined cloner
15. to be running amok
16. to address legal issues
17. to be designed
18. competing interests
19. to achieve benefits
20. to challenge


II. Fill in the gaps with the prepositions from the box and paraphrase the expressions in bold type.
out, to, on, with, from, by, on.

  1. The desire to ban scientific progress is fuelled _____ ignorance.
  2. One of the participants of the competition was ruled ____ when it was found out that he had been using drugs.
  3. The decision of the Supreme Court is binding _____ all inferior courts in the country.
  4. He was barred _____ entering the race.
  5. English pronunciation is very difficult to learn because there are many exceptions ____ the rules.
  6. It was so noisy in the classroom that it was impossible to carry ____ the discussion.
  7. To regulate this issue internationally all the countries involved should cooperate _____ each other.


III. Give synonyms for the following words.
  • to persuade
  • to prohibit
  • to predict
  • to establish
  • to tackle (a question)
  • thoughtful
  • to outlaw
  • to restrict
  • to emphasise
  • to obtain
  • to facilitate
  • to resolve (a problem)
IV. Improve your translation skills by translating the following passage in writing, using the active vocabulary of the Unit.

В январе 1998 года 19 Европейских государств подписали международную конвенцию, запрещающую эксперименты по клонированию человека. Однако, подписание тех или иных международных документов, запрещающих клонирование, вопросов не решает. Должна ли Россия присоединиться к этой конвенции? Поскольку у нас по Конституции приоритет международного права, тем самым фактически запрет на клонирование человека будет введен.
У нашего государства два выхода: принять собственный закон по клонированию или ратифицировать европейские конвенции. Оба варианта весьма трудоемки. Однако стоило ли политикам поднимать шум по поводу новомодной проблемы?

Вопросы о правовом регулировании хода научных изысканий в области клонирования должны решать специалисты, люди, которые в этом разбираются. Только когда будут проведены все необходимые эксперименты на животных, взвешены все за и против, окончательное решение должны принять ученые. Наши законодатели - это не специалисты, они будут руководствоваться эмоциями. Так что последнее слово за учеными, а не за Государственной Думой.




Means of Discussion

I. Study the phrases below which contain words and expressions used to talk about
CONCESSION AND CONTRAST:

ConcessionContrast
  • Although they were rich, they were very unhappy.
  • I acknowledge/accept that he has worked hard but it isn't
    enough (accept is less formal than acknowledge)
  • I agree but I have strong doubts about it.
  • I admit I was wrong, but I still think we had a good chance to succeed.
  • I accept I'm guilty of what I'm accused of. Nevertheless, if
    I could I would do it again!
  • I concede that you are right about the goal, but not the method.
  • You shouldn't seem so surprised. After all, I did warn you.
  • It's all very well saying you love children, but who'll
    provide for them if we do have one?
  • Admittedly, she put a lot of effort in, but it was all wasted.
  • I thought the party would be boring. Quite the opposite, it turned out to be fun.
  • Everywhere in Europe they use metric measures. In contrast, Britain still uses non-metric ones.
  • On the one hand, it is impossible to reverse human knowledge; but on the other (hand), some scientific developments can result in disaster.
  • You are mistaken to think that we’ll do this work in a few days. On the contrary, it may take us a whole month!
  • COLLOCATING PHRASES FOR CONTRAST.
  • When it comes to politics, Bob and Julia are poles apart.
  • There's a world of difference between being a clone and a naturally born child.
  • There's a great divide between the left and the right wings in politics.
  • A yawning gap divides criminals and law-abiding citizens.
  • There's a huge discrepancy between his ideals and his actions.


In class, work in pairs. Make up 5 statements on the topic of
  • students’ rights
  • ways of learning English
  • love and marriage

Let your partner contradict each of your statements.




II. Study the phrases below which contain words and expressions used to talk about ADDITION (words for linking sentences/clauses):


Adding words at the beginning of clauses/ sentences Adding words at the end of clauses/ sentences Adding words in the middle of clauses/ sentences
  • You need a degree for this job. In addition, you need some experience.
  • In addition to his BA in Law he has a Ph.D. in Sociology.
  • Computers are becoming easier to use. Furthermore / Moreover / What's more, they're becoming cheaper.
  • It'll take ages to get there and it'll cost a fortune. Besides, we'll have to change trains at least three times.
  • Children should respect their parents. Equally / Likewise, they should respect their teachers.
  • We'll have all the stress of going to court and giving evidence. On top of(all) that we'll have to pay the lawyers' fees.
  • Apart from having a salary, he also has a private income.
  • Alongside her many other hobbies she is a good cook.
  • They sell software, hardware, spare parts, and so on.
  • The matter will go to the committee, then to the board, then to another committee, and so on and so forth. (suggests a long continuation)
  • The questions raised at the conference concerned the moral and legal aspects of long-term imprisonment, the rights of inmates, social rehabilitation programmes, etc.
  • He's a good lecturer, as well as being a talented researcher.
  • This incident, along with other similar cases, led to an extensive debate in Parliament
  • The US Constitution defines the powers of federal government, with all other powers and duties belonging to the states.


Now, using these expressions, think of at least 7 sentences of your own, referring to the legal aspects of cloning.



Time to Talk
I. In groups, discuss the following questions, employing the vocabulary of the Unit, as well as the phrases used for expressing CONCESSION and CONTRAST:
  1. Who, if anyone, should own and control cloning technology and its products?


  2. If the government refuses to support this research, would private businesses use it in their own interests?


  3. Can/or should the scientific community regulate itself in the absence of governmental control?


  4. Should some private organisation, independent of the scientific community, have this responsibility?


  5. Should cloning research be restricted by the state or local governments, or some combination of these?


  6. Can any type of legislation, at any level, aimed at restricting cloning research, be effectively enforced?


  7. What does genetic engineering, and the cloning of human beings, mean for sociological and legal definitions of "individual", "human", and "citizenship"?


  8. Should this technology be considered a form of ‘property’, and if so, should it be held by individuals or by the state?


II. Study the following points of view obtained as a result of an opinion poll conducted in Moscow. Translate them into English and say if you share these opinions.

МНЕНИЯ ОПРОШЕННЫХ НА ТЕМУ «КАК ВЫ ОТНОСИТЕСЬ К КЛОНИРОВАНИЮ? ХОТЕЛИ БЫ ВЫ, ЧТОБЫ ОПЫТЫ ПО КЛОНИРОВАНИЮ ЧЕЛОВЕКА ПРОВОДИЛИСЬ И В НАШЕЙ СТРАНЕ?» РАЗДЕЛИЛИСЬ ПРАКТИЧЕСКИ ПОРОВНУ:


  • Мир одинаковых людей - это апокалипсис. Для меня и моих детей это очень страшно. Должен быть запрет на клонирование на уровне ООН.
  • Клонирование - это уже состоявшийся научный факт и, как любое открытие, может быть использовано во вред и во благо. В нашей стране исследования должны проходить, как и во всем мире, но под контролем в исследовательских центрах, которые должны получить разрешение. Давать или нет такое разрешение, должна решать правительственная комиссия.
  • Это все равно выйдет из-под контроля. Хотелось бы мощную международную комиссию, которая провела бы этот опыт. На основании выводов можно было бы действовать дальше. Указами это нельзя утихомирить.
  • Думается, прогресс нельзя остановить. Обнаружили эффект радиоактивности - со временем создали атомную бомбу.
  • История атомной бомбы, однако, - пример того, как научно-технический прогресс уничтожает своего создателя.
  • Это просто неприятно!

Sum up the public attitude towards cloning in Russia, using the articles from the Appendix as reference material.


III. Clones’ Rights Debate
A. Study the following text and express your opinion on the problem.

Think About The Clone's Interests, Urge Scientists

The rights of the clone are in danger of being ignored in the debate about whether to clone humans. Brought into the world as a carbon copy of someone else who could be several decades older, deeply confused about the identity of his or her parents, the clone's life would be a traumatic one. Yet the ethical debate, particularly in America, has instead considered the issue in terms of adults' rights to have children in any way they choose.

Cloners should consider the question: Is it good for the clone? It might not be in your interests to be a clone because you are taking the greatest genetic test ever imposed on people. In your parents, you will see what will happen to you biologically. As they go through life you will know that you will become bald at 40 and depressed at 50 and die of stomach cancer at 62. The clone involuntarily knows a lot more because he is going to have all this biological information thrust upon him. The focus has to be on the interests of the person made in this way.

People may have the right to do what they want in the bedroom but when they have to use unusual means to make children then society has an interest in whether it is in the child's interests to be made in this way.

Another problem for clones would be in working out who their parents were. This has already proved to be an important question for children born as a result of in-vitro fertilisation and who have begun long searches for their biological parents. A baby cloned from an adult would share that person's parents, biologically speaking, but there would also be surrogate mothers and others to consider.

Dr Ian Wilmut, of the Roslin Institute in Scotland, leader of the team that cloned Dolly the sheep, said "I have not heard of a reason for copying people that I find ethically acceptable. By contrast, there are some other techniques that I think deserve a lot of careful thought."



B. Prepare reports on behalf of the members of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (or any other similar body you can think of) on the following issues. Be ready to argue each other’s views.
  • The legal identity of a clone.
  • Is society obliged to protect the interests of all children, irrespective of the way they were born?
  • Who will be the parent of a clone?



Fiction or Future? - Be a Detective!
I. Read the story and try to guess where and when the action takes place.
When One is Found Guilty

by M. Stanley Bubien


The bailiff stated, "All rise," as the jurors entered.
I stood beside the attorney and my brother. It reminded me of childhood - as things often did - when we played
together - it was almost the same. Almost. Afterward, my brother had chosen a separate life, leaving me alone.
Today, though, we were together—proof to the prayer of my loneliness, "The only way."
The guilty verdict was read. I slumped forward, but my brother cried, "No! I'm innocent."
"Stop this," the judge yelled, "or I will find you in contempt."
"But it's not fair!" my brother replied, "I didn't kill anyone."
I wished I could explain, but that would keep us apart. I mumbled, "The only way."
The judge pulled his glasses from his face. "By law - "
"The law is unjust," my brother said.
The judge wiped his eyes, and, to my surprise, addressed my brother evenly. "Yes," he nodded and set his
glasses aside. "I agree with you there. Legislation is meant to protect the innocent. And you certainly seem
innocent."
My heart leapt into my mouth. He couldn't ruin everything now!
"But how can I tell? You are clones. Your faces, your fingerprints, even your DNA match exactly. That's why
when one is found guilty, all others..."
The judge sighed, replaced his glasses, and banged the gavel. "I sentence you both to twenty years."
Together, the bailiff led us away. My brother's head bowed in defeat, but I walked upright, for I would no longer be alone.



II. Find out and tell the class what role each of the following plays in court.
  • bailiff
  • jurors
  • attorney
  • judge


III. Find out the meaning of all the words from the text which are printed in bold type.

IV. TRUE or FALSE? Find in the text the evidence supporting your opinion. Take advantage of the legal vocabulary.
  1. The two main characters are clones.
  2. They were on trial because each of them had committed a crime.
  3. They hated each other.
  4. Both of them were found guilty.
  5. The judge was convinced that the verdict was fair.
  6. One of the clone-brothers had committed the crime to have his revenge upon the other.
  7. Their punishment was death penalty.
  8. They were not to see each other again.


V. In class, divide into small groups. Develop your own version of what had happened before the trial. What kind of crime had been committed? What were the motives of the criminal?

VI. In groups, think of the continuation of the story.

VII. Imagine you are a lawyer. Give your opinion on the case and the legislation which was applied to it.

VIII. Write a speech you would deliver at the trial if you were
  1. the defence attorney
  2. the prosecuting attorney.