Life office slams human "sub-class" Vic cloning law

Sydney Life Office officer, Dr Brigid McKenna, says that a new Victorian law legalising cloning of stem cells is "gravely unjust" and will create a "laboratory sub-class" of human beings.

Dr McKenna said that the new Victorian law which passed the state's upper house last week effectively says "we're willing to commodify, exploit, and expend some human lives for the sake of others," the Catholic Weekly reports.

"This is dishonourable, destructive and callous," she said.

"An honourable, creative and genuinely compassionate decision would have promoted adult stem cell science which holds greater medical promise and does not require the creation and destruction of human embryos."

Strongly backed by Catholic-born Premier Steve Bracks, and Treasurer John Brumby, the bill will allow scientists to clone human embryos for medical research through somatic cell nuclear transfer.

It mirrors federal legislation passed in December, and is hoped to help in the search for cures for degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cystic fibrosis.

The bill was supported in the Legislative Council by 23 votes to 16 in what Health Minister Bronwyn Pike described as a "very significant moment for Victoria in our long history of leadership in medical research".

Five Labor MPs, including Council leader and Education Minister John Lenders, and eight of the 14 Liberal MPs opposed the bill.

Mr Lenders described the decision to oppose the bill as "agonising".

"I would rather crawl under a rock than vote, but I think frankly no MP can hide," he said.

The bill is the first of its kind to be passed by an Australian state parliament, and effectively removes all legal impediments for scientists working in the field in Victoria.

It does, however, explicitly ban scientists from merging a sperm and an egg to create an embryo.

Dr McKenna said: "In the face of these terribly unjust laws and scientific practices, we must be even more determined to promote and defend the truth about the value of human life, every human life."


SOURCE
Vote opens door to 'human sub-class' (Catholic Weekly, 13/5/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Life Office
Cloning (Wikipedia)

ARCHIVE
Hart confronts Bracks over cloning legislation (CathNews, 12/4/07)
Bracks defies Pope on cloning (CathNews, 19/3/07)
Archbishop Hart condemns cloning laws (CathNews, 14/3/07)
Christianity not driver in cloning vote: Garrett (CathNews, 19/12/06)
Christian opposition fails to stop cloning bill passage (CathNews, 7/12/06)
Late amendment puts cloning bill passage in doubt (CathNews, 6/12/06)
Premiers face stem cell backlash as Hart criticises debate (CathNews, 24/7/06)
Catholics divided over stem cells (CathNews, 14/7/06)
Don't lift ban on cloning, says Brennan (CathNews, 23/6/06)


11 May 2007

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