Emotional Reactions to Human Reproductive Cloning

Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (1):26-30 (2016)
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[Selected as EDITOR'S CHOICE] Background: Extant surveys of people’s attitudes toward human reproductive cloning focus on moral judgments alone, not emotional reactions or sentiments. This is especially important given that some (esp. Leon Kass) have argued against such cloning on the grounds that it engenders widespread negative emotions, like disgust, that provide a moral guide. Objective: To provide some data on emotional reactions to human cloning, with a focus on repugnance, given its prominence in the literature. Methods: This brief mixed-method study measures the self-reported attitudes and emotions (positive or negative) toward cloning from a sample of participants in the United States. Results: Most participants condemned cloning as immoral and said it should be illegal. The most commonly reported positive sentiment was by far interest/curiosity. Negative emotions were much more varied, but anxiety was the most common. Only about a third of participants selected disgust or repugnance as something they felt and an even smaller portion had this emotion come to mind prior to seeing a list of options. Conclusions: Participants felt primarily interested and anxious about human reproductive cloning. They did not primarily feel disgust or repugnance. This provides initial empirical evidence that such a reaction is not appropriately widespread.
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First archival date: 2015-10-03
Latest version: 3 (2016-01-29)
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