Catholic Health challenges Parliament to be consistent on ethics
Speaking after the introduction of the Research Involving Embryos and Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill 2002 by the Prime Minister yesterday, Catholic Health Australia's Chief Executive Officer, Francis Sullivan, called for a consistent ethic to be applied to complex issues involving the treatment of human life.
Mr Sullivan said that when the Federal Parliament conducted a conscience vote on euthanasia, the key ethical principle at stake was to allow human life to take its natural course as opposed to directly destroying life. He said the same principles apply in the ethical treatment of spare embryos, which can be either be allowed to succumb or actively destroyed.
Calling for a consistent approach to human life issues, Mr Sullivan warned that the bill creates a "dangerous legal precedent" which "permits the deliberate destruction of human life".
"It discriminates against one form of human life over another," he said. "It opens the door for more inconsistent approaches to the protection of human life and the preservation of human dignity."
Meanwhile Director of the Southern Cross Bioethics Centre in Adelaide, Fr John Fleming, has warned human embryos could be used in tests reminiscent of the horrors of Nazi research during World War II.
He said: "It will allow the experimentation on human embryos for any scientific reasons, only one of which is stem cell research."
Fr Fleming said that through the bill, the Federal Government was being asked to give general approval and permission for human embryo use without limits.
"There is no justification for the destruction of one life for the benefit of another."
Research Involving Embryos and Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill, 2002
Catholic Health Australia
Southern Cross Bioethics Institute
CHA / Catholic Leader
28 Jun 2002