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Cloning development provokes Catholic Health call for clarity in ethics

Catholic Health Australia (CHA) yesterday called for a consistent ethical approach to meeting the challenges imposed by health and aged care related diseases, suggesting that legislators "must not be manipulated by those seeking to profit from placing one human life above another".

"Early human life, even from the creation of the first cell is unique, irreplaceable and worthy of the utmost respect and protection," commented CHA CEO Francis Sullivan. "Proponents of embryonic stem cell production claim research benefits may lead to advances in aged related disease management. Yet they are prepared to destroy one stage of human life on the whim that some advantage may accrue to some other people at some later stage."

Mr Sullivan suggested they are "placing more value on some peoples lives compared to others".

"If we are to be consistent about the value and worth of human beings," he said, "we cannot permit research that effectively devalues early human life and in the process seeks to capitalise on the commercial gains of such practices whilst purporting to be in the best interests of life itself."

Mr Sullivan said embryonic stem cell research, which "ultimately destroys human life", "must be banned".