Former Bioethics Commissions
Friday, January 18, 2002
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Leon R. Kass, M.D., PH.D., Chairman
The agenda for today is as announced in the briefing book. We will have Sessions 5 and 6 of this meeting, both on human cloning. The first, from now until about 10 o'clock, on the ethical issues, the ethical issues in clonal reproduction, and then, after the break, the policy issues in clonal reproduction and opening discussion on research cloning. After the break, at noon, we will have a final session for public comments, and I do not know-- Have people signed up already? Anyone who would like to make a public comment should please notify Diane Gianelli who is in the back of the room, our communications director.
Yesterday we spent most of our time on questions related to how to do bioethics in the hope that we could enrich the consideration of these questions, beginning with a discussion of The Birth-mark, exploring the aspiration to perfection and its problems and limits. Then we went on to Gil Meilaender's paper which raised a series of questions, talked about certain aspects of the character of human life that are relevant to consideration of bioethical issues. And then, in a somewhat loose and chaotic discussion, we tried to talk about the context into which human cloning fits by having discussion about the meaning of human procreation and what one might value there.
I think had we followed Michael Sandel's original suggestion to begin, really, with the objections to cloning, we might have gotten farther in the search for what we positively affirm about this, in the way in which one generally does not think about health until one has to confront disease, and then one comes to think about what it is that one is missing. But this morning's session, I think, is the opportunity at least to do that head-on.