British Catholic Bishops Says Human-Animal Chimeras Have Right to Life

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 26, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Catholic Bishops Says Human-Animal Chimeras Have Right to Life Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 26
, 2007

London, England ( — As the brave new world of bizarre scientific research expands further, pro-life advocates are increasingly forced to focus on the human rights of unborn children in different and unique ways. Catholic bishops in England now have the unenviable task of determining what rights human-animal hybrids should have.

The British government has proposed legislation the parliament will debate later this year that will allow scientists to create human-animal hybrids.

The bill mandates that the created entity, an unborn child who is 99.9 percent human and less than one percent animal, be destroyed within two weeks and not be implanted in a mother’s womb.

Catholic Church leaders in England strongly oppose this cloning technique and the chimeras it will create, but they also oppose the destruction of the human embryo the cloning process creates.

On Tuesday, Church leaders said that if researchers are allowed to engage in the grisly science and create these chimera human embryos, the cloned embryos should be allowed to be born rather than killed for their stem cells for research.

The Catholic bishops of England and Wales submitted a letter to a parliament committee examining the legislation making their case.

The bishops said they didn’t know why the “interspecies” embryos should be treated any differently than human embryos that are 100 percent human.

“At the very least, embryos with a preponderance of human genes should be assumed to be embryonic human beings, and should be treated accordingly," they said, according to a London Telegraph report.

“In particular, it should not be a crime to transfer them, or other human embryos, to the body of the woman providing the ovum, in cases where a human ovum has been used to create them," they added.

“Such a woman is the genetic mother, or partial mother, of the embryo; should she have a change of heart and wish to carry her child to term, she should not be prevented from doing so," they said.

But, ultimately, the bishops said the creation of human beings who are even slightly part animal is an evisceration of basic human rights.