Genevieve Broadbent 2021

Persuasive Oral Speech: Cloning Technology

Imagine this. Australian scientists are attempting to clone a human embryo. They steal hundreds of embryos’ lives in their 276 attempts at success. Managing to create an impressive 29 embryos, 13 are implanted into optimistic surrogate mothers. Only one embryo sustains pregnancy, giving birth on the 276th attempt. Sadly, due to health complications the female clone dies at age 40, half the expected life time for a female Australian, living a miserable life, filled with disease and depression.  

This was all simply the life of Dolly the sheep, the cloning prodigy which shook the world 25 years ago on July 5th 1996. Now scientists are challenged with transferring the supposedly revolutionary technology into other animals, and most concerningly, possibly us humans.

 In 2002, the Australian Parliament prohibited both therapeutic cloning, the use of embryonic stem cells for therapeutic purposes and reproductive cloning and the cloning of a human being. However, in 2006 this legislation was amended, legalising therapeutic cloning but not reproductive. Mass controversy has remained in the ongoing debate causing various scientists, advocates and fearful citizens to speak out. Bob Williamson, an advocate for cloning technology, highlighted in an opinion piece that “stem cell research offers great hope to patients with cancer” and “genetic diseases affecting young people.” No doubt human cloning will unlock new medical pathways, but at what cost?

The public must not be blinded by the admirable propositions made by scientists and must restrict themselves from diving into deep false hope of curing diseases. Cloning technology must remain illegal. Firstly, it proposes extensive risks impacting the cloned product.  Secondly, there are overwhelming ethical issues surrounding embryonic destruction and disability discrimination. Lastly, women are capitalised on for their eggs.

For those unaware, reproductive cloning is the cloning of a human being. The process involves removing a mature somatic cell from an animal intended for cloning, and transferring the DNA of the somatic cell donor into an egg cell which has had its nucleus removed. The egg is then placed into surrogate mother to be birthed.

Reproductive cloning has a significantly low success rate, with minimal benefits. 95 to 97 per cent of animal cloning attempts are unsuccessful (Weldon, 2002). Cloned animals are observed to have had an increase in birth size, defects in vital organs, problems with the immune system, serious genetic malformation cancer and shortened life span. In Dolly the sheep’s shortened lifetime of 6 and a half years, just over half the expected lifetime of a sheep, she alone suffered from a lung cancer causing virus (JSRV), severe arthritis, and tumours in her lung. In another attempt to clone a lamb, the lamb developed lung problems that caused it to hyperventilate and regularly pass out (Weintraub, 2016).  Berkeley Master of Engineering, 2020 spoke “These medical concerns which cannot be overlooked.” We should be outraged with to any suggestion which sentences clones to a life of unimaginable misery for the sole purpose of human enhancement.

In scientists’ attempt to create a “better” human they lose sight of the simple moral standards which guide our society. Regardless of the outcome, cloning technology encourages a twisted form of eugenics. By abusing the technology, eugenics’ purpose is to “breed out” disabilities and “undesirable characteristics” to try and eliminate the diseases which (according to cloning technology) plague our population. Dr Christopher Newell, a member of the National Council on intellectual Disability, opposes these inhumane beliefs: “We believe that a society without disabled people would be a lesser society. Our unique individual and collective experiences are an important contribution to a rich human society.” Yet legalising cloning will forbid this, threatening disabilities. Furthermore, increased cloning puts our population at higher risk of extinction whilst intruding on a person’s right to individuality. Considering that our school Eltham High, like other high schools, communities and organisations, focuses prominently on the importance of individuality, we’d be blatant hypocrites to then allow reproductive cloning to limit this diversity. In the words of Dr Christopher Newell: “Biotechnological change must not be an excuse for control or manipulation of the human condition or biodiversity.”

Women are exploited for their eggs. It’s no surprise advocates forget to mention the underlying mass harvesting to obtain large quantities of eggs. Not to mention the fatal consequences women experience. Published in Katrina George’s report, a 21-year-old Stanford graduate named Calla Papademas suffered from a stroke and permanent brain damage after she commenced egg extraction for $15,000. Her attempt at contributing as a supplier cost her a life she could never get back. The report stated, “up to 10 per cent of women who undergo the process experience Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome”. This is a standing issue of cloning technology; the process cannot occur let alone be successful without access to human eggs. To add to this, the act of cloning embryos with intention to destroy them later can never be justified. There are numerous of beliefs surrounding the ethics of human embryos. Each individual’s moral standards are tested when deciding upon the exact day an embryo classifies as a human being. The law states that an embryo may be experimented on in the first 14 days of its life. Who are we to decide if an embryo is worthy of being a human being or not?

The “slippery slope” of cloning technology threatens the health of embryos, women, disabled citizens, and encourages unethical behaviours. There is no evidence suggesting how prohibited cloning technology will inhibit further advancements in genetic science. It is now a question for us to answer: how far we willing to go for science? Are we willing to risk hundreds of embryos? The possibility of erasing disabilities? Losing young women? Said by Berkeley Master of Engineering, “Just because we can does not mean that we should.”

 

Statement of Intention

The world has witnessed the birth of many “revolutionary” cloning techniques, and over the past twenty years, the media has drawn attention to this morally conflicting debate. I aim to convince my audience that cloning technology is not appropriate, as the “overwhelming ethical,” safety and health issues that may emerge means we must not advance this science.

I am structuring my persuasive piece by laying out my arguments in chronological order, embedding various language devices to sway the audience to my side. I aim choosing to present my most heavily evidence-based argument first, in the hope of building a strong foundation leading into the following arguments, as I demonstrate my knowledge on the issue. Throughout my speech I will transition from the past tense to present tense, as I intend the audience to respond emotively with me, rather than my speech presenting as an ordinary scientific report.

Commonly using rhetorical questions in my speech, I will encourage the audience to doubt the “admirable propositions” at hand, whilst appealing to a sense of justice in which Australian citizens feel obliged to reject this unprecedented technique. Not having any firsthand experience of the issue, I will share an anecdote about a young lady in order to reach out supportively to the youthful audience. I aim to evoke frustration that means that they oppose cloning technology/cloning technology companies.