April 18, 2024

Could the First Amendment protect cloning?

The First Amendment to the American constitution guarantees free speech — and therefore the right to perform cloning research, an author has argued in the New York Times. Brian Alexander, an advocate of extending human potential through technology, says that a number of legal scholars believe that the First Amendment protects the right of scientists to do research. After all, if the Supreme Court protected the “right to inquiry” in Griswold v Griswold, the famous case that struck down a state ban on contraceptives, shouldn’t the right to inquire in a laboratory also be protected?

Indeed, according to R. Alta Charo, a bioethicist at the University of Wisconsin, some experiments deserve to be protected precisely because they are controversial. “If the questions you ask and the science you do really challenges or explores cultural or religious or political norms… that in itself is an act of rebellion, and this is exactly the sort of thing that fits comfortably in the spirit of the First Amendment.”