Anglican Church Leader Calls British Human Cloning Bill Irresponsible Science

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 12, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Anglican Church Leader Calls British Human Cloning Bill Irresponsible Science

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 12
, 2008

London, England ( — As members of the British Parliament prepare to debate the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, the leader of the Anglican Church renewed his opposition. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, says promoting human cloning is irresponsible science.

Williams articulated the views in an editorial published in the Sunday edition of the London Daily Mail newspaper.

He said he welcomed a free or conscience vote on the bill for MPs because the bill promotes human cloning, the creation of human-animal hybrids and so-called "savior siblings" who are created for harvesting organs for older siblings.

“If a human embryo is produced by non-reproductive cloning, created as a research tool as proposed in the Bill, and then destroyed, is this in the same category as using someone’s body as an instrument for your own purposes?" he asked in the op-ed.

“Put like this, the answer is clearly no. The compassionate and responsible scientists we are discussing here are far removed from the nightmares of experimentation on living and unwilling subjects that haunt our imaginations," he added.

Williams said he was “yet to be convinced” from pro-cloning MPs how the bill would not “open the way to a less consistently respectful attitude to life."

Joining Williams, Catholic Cardinal Keith O’Brien has denounced the proposals as a "monstrous" attack on human rights and dignity.

The cloning debate will also include one on abortion as pro-life MPs try to amend the bill to include more limits on late-term abortions.

Led by Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, they want to scale back abortions from 24 weeks into pregnancy to 20.

"We now have the absurd situation where doctors are battling to save premature babies in one part of the hospital and ending life in another part at exactly the same point of gestation," she said.