Archbishop Hart condemns cloning laws

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart has condemned an announcement by Victorian Premier Steve Bracks that the state government will introduce a law modelled on a recent federal legislation to allow "therapeutic" cloning of human embryos.

Reaffirming that there was "total opposition" from the Church to embryonic cloning, Archbishop Hart yesterday told the Age that embryonic cloning was "always unethical" and said that he will make a personal plea to Mr Bracks, a Catholic, to scrap the plan.

The Age also reports that former state minister, Christine Campbell, a Catholic from the Labor Party's Labor Right faction, also opposed the bill at a Government meeting.

By late last night Ms Campbell and fellow Labor MP Tammy Lobato had organised a forum tomorrow for MPs to learn more about the issue before voting, the Age says.

Ms Campbell confirmed she had invited all MPs to tomorrow's forum.

"I want Victoria to be one of the top five biotech sites internationally, but you should never create human life for its deliberate destruction," she said.

Mr Bracks said his own Catholicism had not dissuaded him from proceeding with the bill.

"The opportunity to cure some of the intractable diseases around the world … is an opportunity we should not pass up or miss," he said.

But Melbourne auxiliary Bishop Christopher Prowse says that the community would not support such a move, ABC News reports.

"I would have thought that the people in the rank and file of the community, in our streets and neighbourhoods and our parishes, would be appalled to think that the Government was moving in that direction," he said.

Under the proposed Victorian legislation, which is based on a law passed in Federal Parliament last December, researchers would be allowed to clone human embryos for medical research through somatic cell nuclear transfer, commonly known as therapeutic cloning. But researchers would not be allowed to merge an egg with sperm to create an embryo.

Archbishop condemns cloning bill (The Age, 14/3/07)
Catholic Church to campaign against Vic cloning Bill (ABC News, 13/3/07)

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)

14 Mar 2007

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