What is Human Cloning? “Human embryo clone means a human embryo that is a genetic copy of another living or dead human, but does not include a human embryo created by the fertilisation of a human egg by human sperm.” (s.8 Prohibition of Human Cloning Act 2002)
What is Human Cloning? Method 1: Usual reproduction [in utero or in vitro] Method 2: Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer [SCNT]
Why Human Cloning? To extract Embryonic Stem Cells (ESCs) to cure diseases to develop techniques for ART to research stem cell development to research embryo development
Human Cloning – why not? “ Primum non nocere ” – First, do no harm –"to help, or at least to do no harm," Hippocrates The human embryo is fully human unchanged tenet of the Catholic Church recognised as such by science All humans deserve respect All humans have a ‘right-to-life’ We should not create life to kill it “Respect life, all human life” John Paul II
Human Cloning – why not? Adult Stem Cells: An ethical alternative more than 70 known applications ES cells – no successful animal trials ES cells cause cancerous growths [teratomas] ES cells from clones have ‘mixed’ DNA AS cells – no rejection problems AS cells readily available “Respect life, all human life” John Paul II
Embryos and the law Late 1970s IVF legislation in all States initially to assist infertile couples conceive In 1990’s some countries began genetic screening 2002 Federal debate human embryo research & human cloning bill bill split in two – Human Cloning unanimous ban legislation included statutory review after 3 years All states passed reciprocal (mirror) legislation
Embryos and the law The Lockhart Review Panel of 6 scientists and ethicists Report tabled in December 2005 54 recommendations Federal Cabinet considered report flawed & tried to ‘bury’ report PM commissioned own report – confirmed flawed nature of Lockhart PM pressured & eventually allowed debate
Embryos and the law The Lockhart Review Private Member’s bill to be introduced by either Senator Patterson or Stott Despoja discussions about what will be included Public debate focus on religion & ‘scare tactics’ Tony Abbott: “Captain Catholic” Nothing unethical in Lockhart - Bob Carr Not creating babies – Mal Washer Not human – no sperm – Jeannie Ferris
What Lockhart says: Recommendation 28 creates a new definition of human embryo that would, if adopted, create a virtual ‘open season’ on early embryos before the first cell division takes place. Recommendation 24 allows the creation of human embryo clones using animal oocytes (eggs) for ‘research, training and clinical applications, including the production of human embryonic stem cells…’ so long as the cloned embryos are destroyed before they reach 14 days.
What Lockhart says: Recommendation 12 states that the ‘Creation of human embryos by fertilization of human eggs by human sperm should remain restricted to ART treatment for the purposes of reproduction.’
What can we do? Defend human life – our calling Write to local MPs and Senators Write to the newspapers Follow the debate Tell your friends Research the issue Take action at a local level Pray for our decision makers
What can we do? Act together – solidarity with the defenceless Organise an open letter to your local MP Collect signatures Make an appointment with your MP Send a delegation to present the open letter Write or email your MP and SA Senators personally Encourage your friends Remember: we were all embryos in the beginning!