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Biomedical ethics, Cloning, Jewish law, Maternity, Paternity, Genetic material


This Article is an attempt to create a preliminary and tentative analysis of the technology of cloning from a Jewish law perspective. Like all preliminary analyses, it is designed not to advance a rule that represents itself as definitive normative Jewish law, but rather an attempt to outline some of the issues in the hope that others will focus on the problems and analysis found in this Article and will sharpen or correct that analysis. Such is the way that Jewish law seeks truth.

In the case of cloning-as with all advances in reproductive technology- the Jewish tradition is betwixt and between two obligations. On one side is the general Jewish obligation to help those who are in need, and particularly compounded by the specific obligation to reproduce, thus inclining one to permit advances in reproductive technologies that allows those unable to reproduce to, in fact, reproduce. On the other side is the general inherent moral conservatism associated with the Jewish tradition's insistence that there is an objective morality, and that not everything that humanity wants or can do is proper. This specifically manifests in the areas of sexuality where the Jewish tradition recognizes a number of doctrines which restrict sexual activity. In addition, the Jewish tradition advises one to pause before one permits that which can lead down a variety of slippery slopes whose consequences one does not fully understand, and whose results we cannot predict.

It is the balance between these various needs that drives the Jewish law discussion of all assisted reproductive technology, and it is in that spirit that this is intended to be a preliminary analysis of the problems of cloning. This Article argues that while there are a variety of technical issues related to cloning that have to be addressed, fundamentally cloning is a form of assisted reproduction-no different from artificial insemination or surrogate motherhood-which, when technologically feasible, should be made available to those individuals in need of assisted reproduction.

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Connecticut Law Review