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Human Rights and the New Genetics

George Annas - Professor, Boston University

[The clone] is robbed of the freedom which can only thrive under the protection of ignorance… an inexplicable crime that must not be committed even once.

                                                                                       Hans Jonas, 1974

“Just to dumbfound Annas I have decided to clone myself first. My wife will carry the child. She’s postmenopausal but that’s no problem.”

                                                                                       Richard Seed, 9/5/98

“Replication of a human by cloning would radically alter the definition of a human being by producing the world’s first human with a single genetic parent”

Annas, 3/97

“A child by cloning has a full set of chromosomes like anyone else…[the] donor is not the child’s ‘parent’ in any biological sense, but simply an earlier offspring of the original parents.”

Lewontin, 10/97

Crimes against Humanity (Inhumanity)

e.g. murder, torture, slavery, genocide

Offense against “Humanity” (unhuman)

e.g. asexual reproduction, genetic engineering

Precautionary Priciple

Shifts Burden of Proof

  • benefits/harms

International Human Rights Law

  • Medical Ethics
  • Universal & Unenforceable

Email link | Feedback | Contributed by: Boston University. Video adapted from the Issues for the Millennium Workshop

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