Australia Will Keep Ban on Hybrid Cloning Despite Britain Vote on HFE Bill
by Steven Ertelt
October 23, 2008
Canberra, Australia (LifeNews.com) — Australia plans to keep a law in place that prohibits scientists there from engaging in hybrid human cloning that mixes the DNA of humans and animals. The ban on "cybrids" remains despite the vote in the British House of Commons on Wednesday to allow the grisly research there.
Australia banned the production of hybrids in 2002 despite allowing other forms of human cloning for research purposes more recently. A scientists could earn 10 years in jail for violating the current law.
Parliamentary Secretary for Health Jan McLucas said the creation of hybrid was illegal in Australia and that was likely to stay that way.
"We are not considering making any changes at this time," Senator McLucas told The Australian newspaper.
Australian Christian Lobby national chief of staff Lyle Shelton told the paper the ban should remain.
"I see no reason to revisit this here in Australia," he said.
Nationals senator Ron Boswell agreed and said that the focus should remain on adult stem cells and the use of iPS cells — embryonic-like stem cells that are reverted from an adult state through a process known as direct reprogramming.
Pro-life groups have hailed the process as ethical because it wouldn’t involve the destruction of human life like embryonic stem cell research.
British MPs voted 355 to 129 in favor of the HFE bill at third reading (final main vote). The bill enshrines and extends the creation and abuse of human embryos outside the womb.
John Smeaton, the national director of SPUC, says he’s disappointed the HFE bill, which would allow scientists to engage in grisly human cloning projects involving the combination of human and animal parts, received approval from the chamber.
"Today is a tragic date in British history, as Parliament has passed a law extending the lethal abuse of the most vulnerable members of our society. Future generations will look back on this macabre bill and wonder how a supposedly civilized nation could have so devalued human life," he said.
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