The Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference has told a Federal parliamentary inquiry into cloning that the scientific community tends to regard the manufacturing of human life products as more closely "akin to matters of property than to life".
   The Catholic Weekly reports on a recent submission to the inquiry in which Australian bishops said laws prohibiting cloning would reinforce the dignity of human life.
   The Bishops' submission argues that respect for human life must take precedence over respect for academic or scientific freedom to conduct research, especially when there are commercial incentives involved.
   "Human life is never disposable, at any stage of its development," the submission states. "It should never be seen as a commodity, as a type of property able to be exploited for profit; nor is its worth and claim to protection dependent on age or utility to others."
   Appearing before the inquiry, Archbishop of Perth, Archbishop Barry Hickey, said: "Early human life, even from the creation of the first cell, is unique, irreplaceable and worthy of the utmost respect and protection.
   Archbishop Hickey said laws enacted by Federal parliament on euthanasia a few years ago had sent important messages to sick, aged and frail members of the community "that they are important, they are not disposable, and that our laws will protect the hale and hearty as well as the infirm.
Cath Weekly


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