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Fall 1999 Symposium – Legislating Morality: The Debate over Human Cloning

November 19, 1999

Scientific advances in the late 90s made many ideas that were previously only possible in science fiction a reality.  When researchers announced the cloned sheep, Dolly, to the world, it created unprecedented debate over the proper role of scientists, given their newfound abilities. Does the capacity to clone a living thing give us the right to do so?

While the true limits of cloning technology were tested, Congress debated legislation that would prevent cloning of humans, or even human cells, indefinitely. This legislative reaction sparked a wide range of debate and reflection into the proper role moral objections should have in the Legislature. Should Congress be able to regulate the progress of science? What influence do religious entities have in the formulation of such legislation? Who should decide what is in the public’s best interest in this area?

In 1999, the Journal believed that the time was ripe for a serious discourse on the future of cloning technology, especially the ways in which then-proposed federal legislation would affect business, science, and society. The first panel of the Symposium discussed the topic of how moral objectives shape legislation on cloning in the United States. The second panel explored these concerns in the field of the growing national debate over the ethical implications of the science of human cloning.

Panel I: Morality in Legislation
Frank P. Grad
Professor of Law & Bioethics
Columbia University School of Law

Lori P. Knowles
Associate for Law & Bioethics
The Hastings Center

John A. Robertson
Professor of Law
University of Texas School of Law

E. Donald Shapiro
Professor of Law
New York Law School

Panel II: The Debate over Human Cloning
Charles N. Aswad, M.D.
Executive Vice President
Medical Society of the State of NY

Frances Myrna Kamm
Professor of Philosophy
New York University

Dr. Lee Silver
Professor of Molecular Biology
Princeton University

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