The human zygote is a "tiny being." not a "tiny thing."

Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI
Reproduced with Permission

The first human fertilized cell is called a Zygote. which in Greek means "tiny being." The zygote contains the chromosomes and genes that form all the characteristics of our bodies. This one cell is filled with more information than the encyclopedia. To call the zygote, or embryo, or fetus an "it" is to totally depersonalize him or her. Just like a (born) child is never an "it," likewise an (unborn) embryo is never an "it."

Presently, some scientists and politicians are talking about the distinction between "reproductive cloning" and "therapeutic cloning." In reproductive cloning, the cloned zygote is implanted into the womb of a woman and allowed to grow to full term, resulting in a live baby. In therapeutic cloning, the zygote is kept in a petri dish in the lab and only allowed to grow to the early embryo stage and then dismembered to obtain stem cells. The distinction between these two types of cloning is a biotechnical distinction without a moral difference; both are a crass manipulation of the intrinsic dignity of human life.

The vast majority of people are opposed to reproductive cloning because it is so revolting, even denying that child a natural father, and the mother becoming the sister of the child. However, some people are being deceived into believing that therapeutic cloning is ok because it is only used to obtain embryonic stem cells. In a moral sense, it is never permissible to kill an innocent human life, even if this is done for the very noble cause of trying to cure the illness of someone else.

Last Fall, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Bill to ban both forms of human cloning. President Bush is also adamantly opposed to human cloning. Very soon, the U.S. Senate will decide whether or not to ban human cloning. While many Senators are opposed to reproductive cloning, already the argument in favor of "therapeutic" cloning is being put forward. It is extremely important not to fall into this language trap. Fortunately, God has provided alternatives to human cloning and embryonic stem cells without any destruction of human life.