Australia Senate Backs Measure to Overturn Its Human Cloning Ban

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 7, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Senate Backs Measure to Overturn Its Human Cloning Ban Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 7
, 2006

Canberra, Australia ( — The Australia Senate voted to approve a measure that would lift the nation’s ban on human cloning and allow it for research purposes. The legislation barely escaped defeat as senators approved it on a 34-32 vote but it now heads to the House of Representatives where it is expected to have an easier time.

Former health minister, Sen. Kay Patterson, introduced the measure on Monday amid a fierce debate about opening up the island nation to the grisly science.

Health Minister Tony Abbott warned that human cloning would result in the destruction of hundreds of lives to perfect the process and warned about scientists creating human-animal hybrids.

To prevent human cloning from being used for reproductive purposes, the Patterson bill mandates that all human clones be destroyed within 14 days and not implanted into a mother’s uterus. However, pro-life groups say that means days-old unborn children will be killed as researchers play with their lives.

The Senate approved some last minute amendments that would increase the penalties from 10 to 15 years for violating the standards in the bill or engaging in reproductive human cloning.

Another amendment prohibited granting licenses for human-animal hybrids, according to an Associated Press report.

During the debate, Finance Minister Nick Minchin labeled the bill "repugnant" and said the "thoroughly unethical and objectionable means to be permitted by this bill do not justify the ends."

"Human life is an end in itself. It is not and should not ever be an instrument of science, or a disposable ingredient for improvements in clinical practice, student training and rudimentary scientific research that is very far from passing the test of proof and perfection in animal studies," he said.

NSW Labor senator and cancer survivor Steve Hutchins said thousands of eggs would be needed for research and worried it would lead to the exploitation of poor women, AAP reported.

"We don’t know what doors we will be opening if we pass this bill," Senator Hutchins said.