Recently a twelve year old altar server explained to his parish priest that it was good that he had not been cloned, because this would mean double trouble!
This casual, humorous remark shows times are changing.
A couple of weeks ago the Senate passed a bill by one vote endorsing the creation of cloned human embryos for destructive research.
A clone is a copy, produced by SCNT (somatic cell nuclear transfer), like Dolly the sheep who was made after dozens of failed attempts and the production of many monsters. Dolly herself died prematurely with arthritis.
While these human embryos are tiny, they will be used for parts, for stem cells, before their destruction by the fourteenth day.
Four years ago when Federal Parliament allowed experiments on "excess" human embryos surplus to IVF processes, cloning was forbidden as illegal and those who then claimed we were on a slippery slope were ridiculed as alarmists. The legal restraints were tight and strict we were told.
If the House of Representatives repeats the mistake narrowly made in the Senate, we shall be pushed further and faster down a slippery slope.
Ignorance and confusion abound on these matters, but principles of long term importance are being broken and new movable standards are being erected temporarily to be further "improved" in the years ahead.
Few Australians would know that the bill proposes to legalize the manufacture of:
- cloned embryos with only one genetic parent;
- hybrid embryos with multiple genetic parents;
- embryos whose mother is an aborted girl fetus.
In other words scientists propose to use the immature eggs (precursor cells) from aborted baby girls to create human embryos for experimentation and destruction.
Parliamentarians should be reminded that human embryonic stem cells have produced none of the cures foreshadowed. In fact only nine research licenses (for 178 embryos) have been issued until March this year and only four of these relate to embryonic stem cell lines.
Up to this point, human embryonic research for cures is a dead end, providing no justification for the further expenditure of government money. No cures have been achieved and very little attempted.
There is no evidence of medical breakthroughs which might justify the Federal Parliament in removing the protective barriers erected in 2002.
Supporters of looser regulations and further experimentation used to cite the Korean cloning scientists as the principal evidence for the great breakthrough in cloning technology. Not only were these claims shown to be completely fraudulent but we now know that female junior researchers were pressured to donate significant numbers of eggs for their project.
Members of the House of Representatives need to remember that the revolution in biotechnology is only beginning. Therefore they should:
- preserve the present legal protections on human life;
- not waste government money on unproductive research;
- be clear about what they are permitting now and preparing for in the future.