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Illegal Beings: Human Clones and the Law Hardcover – August 1, 2005

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521853286 ISBN-10: 0521853281 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


"Professor Kerry Macintosh's book is an intellectual tour de force that demolishes all the staid arguments against illegal cloning. Everyone should read this book; it is destined to be a classic." Gregory E. Pence, author, Who's Afraid of Human Cloning, Professor, School of Medicine and Department of Philosophy, University of Alabama at Birmingham

"In Illegal Beings, Kerry Macintosh offers a thought-provoking and ultimately persuasive case that there are serious constitutional doubts associated with banning human reproductive cloning. Her ultimate thesis-- that it is wrong to ban an entire class of human beings based on widely-held but unfounded fears associated with their potential existence-- should resonate powerfully with any American desirous of preserving an egalitarian society." Elizabeth Foley, Florida International University College of Law

"The most valuable contribution of Professor Macintosh's Illegal Beings may lie less in what it has to say about human cloning as such than in its exploration of the distinctive harms that laws restricting reproductive liberty can visit upon those whose very existence such laws seek to prevent -- not upon the parents whose freedom those laws constrain but upon the children whose being those laws condemn. Hers is a thought-provoking contribution to a constitutional conversation that is just beginning." Laurence H. Tribe, Harvard University

"Kerry Lynn Macintosh's new book is a thought-provoking contribution to a fascinating conversation about one of the most fundamental institutions in our society, and the ways in which technology shapes it and allows us to re-envision and re-imagine it." - The Law and Politics Book Review Zvi H. Triger, The College of Management, School of Law

Book Description

Many people think human reproductive cloning should be a crime--some states have even outlawed it and Congress is working to enact a national ban. However, if reproductive cloning soon becomes a reality, it will be impossible to prevent infertile couples and others from choosing the technology, even if they have to break the law. While most books on cloning cover the advantages and disadvantages of cloning technology, Illegal Beings describes the pros and cons of laws against human reproductive cloning.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521853281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521853286
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,533,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Lee D. Carlson HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Consider the following scenario: a married couple is told by a government official that they will not be allowed to have sexual intercourse since the woman among them may get pregnant. Sexual reproduction is very hazardous for embryos, fetuses, and gestational mothers they are told, and the statistics supporting the dangers in procreation is presented to them. The couple takes the statistical data to a trained statistician in order to obtain an opinion on the reliability of the data. The statistician informs them that the data is correct, including the statement that up to 75 percent of embryos conceived through sexual intercourse never make it birth. Most of the embryos do not implant in the uterus and are spontaneously aborted. The couple, because of the current legal environment that forbids behavior that leads to these kinds of dangers, is therefore prohibited from procreating using traditional intercourse.

This scenario sounds absurd, and one cannot imagine a society whose government would prohibit procreation because it deemed it too "risky." But human reproduction via nuclear somatic transfer, colloquially known as human cloning, has been prohibited for this reason, among many others. Those who want to outlaw reproductive human cloning frequently point to the supposed dangers in carrying it out. These dangers have not been validated, due mostly to lack of experimental data, but even if they were, this would still not be an acceptable reason for prohibiting reproductive human cloning, given the "dangers" of "ordinary" reproduction. If because of technological advances, reproduction via human cloning resulted in only 10 percent of the embryos failing to reach actual birth, would it then be viewed as a more viable method of reproduction?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Professor Hugh V. Mclachlan on November 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is superb. The writing is very clear and the restatement, at convenient intervals, of the points previously established is very useful. It gives a comprehensive, thoughtful and balanced account of the scientific as well as the ethical and legal issues concerning human reproductive cloning.

Those who argue against human cloning often suppose that clones will be identical to those they are cloned from. The absurdity of this position is demonstrated beyond any doubt by Professor Macintosh. The other arguments usually used to show that human reproductive cloning should be illegal and/or that it is unethical are also shown to be defective.

Her further claims that anti-cloning laws conflict with an important principle of egalitarianism and that they are, in American terms, unconstitutional, are very stimulating and supported with erudition and cleverness. Even those who are not convinced by them will find them impressive. Sympathy for her fellow human beings, whatever their ethnic, genetic or reproductive background permeates this powerful, important and inspiring book.

The title- Illegal Beings- is provocative and intriguing. Rape is an illegal act but any consequent babies are not illegal beings. Do laws against rape stigmatise those who are born as a consequence of it? If they did, would that be a reason for repealing them? Could not opponents of cloning - of whom I am not one- condemn cloning without thereby condemning clones? It will be interesting to see how they will respond to Professor Macintosh's arguments.

Although it is set in the context of the United States, of the laws of which Professor Macintosh's knowledge and understanding is vast and deep, the arguments are of interest and relevance to those living in other jurisdictions. Students of law, social sciences, medical ethics and applied philosophy will, in particular, find this book to be invaluable and intellectually illuminating.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By L. S. Coles on September 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Prof. Kerry Macintosh of the Santa Clara University Law School, who got her JD from Stanford, provides us with an excellent resource. Her book reads like a scholarly Ph.D. Thesis in addition to being a valuable case study on how to argue persuasively before a judge and jury. She supports her argument that anti reproductive-cloning laws passed in a number of states are unconstitutional and reinforce false stereotypes that stigmatize potential human clones as subhuman or unworthy of existence! Actually, if a clone were born healthy, he/she would really be nothing more than a "temporally displaced identical twin (say, by 40 years)," and twining (both identical and fraternal) is really nothing new in human history, is it? This seeming paradox is related to the "identity fallacy" that assumes that clones are somehow "more" than identical twins (actually they're less, since they had different wombs and maternal mtDNA). Take for example the false logic of the following argument: "It would be unethical to clone King Tut, since the world has changed so much since his day; how could he possibly fit in?" Really, it seems that our evangelical legislators fear that meddling in the "secrets of life," something which is only the proper dominion of God, will unleash unimaginable horrors.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bradley R. Hennenfent on August 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Kerry Lynn Macintosh, the author of "Illegal Beings: Human Clones and the Law," accurately portrays the science of human cloning, while explaining that most arguments against cloning are "false or exaggerated." The author, a lawyer, compares anticloning laws to racism and apartheid, and encourages the reader to renounce inappropriate stereotypes, "existential segregation," and anticloning laws, which are unconstitutional. The author also notes how prejudiced the anticloners are by describing their attitude as "...when it comes to human clones, we do not want their kind around here."
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