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Big brother threat to human embryos

Key health bureaucrats in Australia are considering plans to legalise destructive experiments on human embryos cloned for that purpose, leading Catholic bioethicist Fr John Fleming has warned.

Fr Fleming, Director of Adelaide's Southern Cross Bioethics Institute, told The Southern Cross that this disturbing development reinforced the concerns raised by Australia's Catholic bishops in their recent discussion paper on cloning and stem cell research.

In their call for ethical research in this field, the bishops state that embryos must not be "consigned to a frozen wasteland or to extinction on a commercial production line in the name of science".

Fr Fleming said the bishops' discussion paper was timely given information he had received about reforms being planned by senior health bureaucrats to weaken controls on cloning research.

He said a bill before the NSW parliament was already being seen as a model for all states. This model provides for the legal possibility of cloning human embryos as long as they are killed before eight weeks.

Bishops support ethical research on stem cells

Southern Cross