The January decision of the British House of Lords to allow human embryonic cloning coincided nicely with the publication of Wired magazine's lead article predicting that someone will clone a human in the next twelve months. The decision by the House of Lords is troublesome in many ways. First, the Peers had the opportunity to postpone their decision in favor of establishing a select committee to assist in doing the ethical analysis warranted by such a momentous step.
On November 28, the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament accepted the proposal for a law regarding legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide. The proposal will now go to the First Chamber, which will probably discuss it in early 2001. It will only become effective if it is also accepted by the First Chamber.
Human cloning may soon become an accepted means of producing human embryonic stem cells for use in medical therapies. The Donaldson Report, released in August by a government advisory commission headed by Britain's Chief Medical Officer Liam Donaldson, sanctions the use of just such a practice. If passed by Parliament, Britain would likely become the first country in the world to explicitly permit the cloning of human embryos.
Ethical Issues in Health-Related Missions
By Paul G. Hiebert. Daniel D. Galat, David Stevens, and Daniel Fountain. Edited by Evvy Hay Campbell.
(Deerfield, IL: The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity, 1998)