A USA Today news article, "Human embryos cloned for stem cells," rightfully highlights and wrongfully dismisses concerns that human cloning now conceivably could produce a cloned baby, and the article also misses a key concern related to patients hoping for stem cell therapies.
The human cloning scientists cite technical hurdles to date in an effort to downplay the chilling potential for reproductive cloning--an argument that incredibly underestimates the likelihood of technological improvements. The FDA overestimates its ability to "block US fertility clinics from using the cloning technique"--unrealistically presuming no rogue clinics or scientists.
Besides the profound moral and ethical boundary crossed by deliberately creating and killing living human embryos in the human cloning process, the entire undertaking also thumbs its nose at patients looking for stem cell therapies. Ethical alternative methods for obtaining powerful stem cells--such as induced pluripotent stem cells and adult stem cells derived from our own bodies--have demonstrated far greater potential for cures and have already produced dozens of actual therapies now treating diseases in patients. These non-lethal stem cell methods have provided a platform of consensus on which the scientific, political, medical and faith communities can stand together with patients in the pursuit of healing.
Human cloning undermines this consensus platform for pursuing the quickest, surest route for patient therapies, instead diverting funding and scientific focus to a more sensational and unethical approach. Human cloning for stem cells may raise the celebrity status of scientists, but it carries a heavy ethical cost while delaying real therapies for real patients.