Australia Human Cloning Vote Saw "Con Science" Crush Conscience

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 11, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Human Cloning Vote Saw "Con Science" Crush Conscience Email this article
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by Dr. David Van Gend
December 11, 2006 Note: Dr. David Van Gend is the spokesman for Australians for Ethical Stem Cell Research.

The Australian parliament cast its final vote in favor of a proposal to allow human cloning for research purposes. This tragic and shameful vote has been a victory for ‘con science’ over conscience.

The issue of conscience was clearly defended by 62 MPs. They refused on principle, like the entire Parliament in 2002, to cross the line of creating living human embryos solely for research.

But ‘con science’ was too powerful for the other 82 MPs. Like superstitious peasants they believed the witchdoctors who held out hope of miracle cures from cloning. The credulity of these MPs was touching and pitiful – any disease suffered by any relative became reason enough for them to declare they ‘would not stand in the way of a cure.’

The moral damage to society has now been done by approving a laboratory subclass of human young, created only for exploitation. But now that we have cut ourselves loose from the essential ethical principle – that no human life can be exploited for the benefit of other human lives – there is no way to get a grip on the slippery slope to further desecrations.

We put it on the record now: with the next review in 4 years time, scientists will again be asking to create animal-human hybrid embryos, and will be asking to grow cloned embryos a little longer so they can extract more useful mature tissues. Eventually we will be taking seriously the request of Melbourne Professor Julian Savulescu to grow cloned fetuses in order to obtain their organs for transplant.

For all those well-meaning fools in the Parliament who abandoned ethical principle in favor of fatuous dreams of cures from cloning, who have agreed to let aborted baby girls be made the ‘mother’ of embryos, on what rock of ethical principle will you resist these further violations of our humanity? You have none. If these human young are officially, in your eyes, mere meat for the consumption of science, then why not use more mature meat?

This vote for cloning was not a vote for hope – the only real hope is being provided by the entirely ethical field of adult stem cell science. This was a vote for hype and inhumanity – for an immoral and unnecessary science that will create new human lives solely for exploitation. Science, which should serve our humanity, has made us all less human.