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Vic MPs debate cloning ahead of conscience vote

Victorian state MPs will tomorrow start debating the controversial human cloning and stem-cell research Bill, which will lead to the Bracks Government's first conscience vote.

But the Bill has already hit a snag over unrest among the Opposition parties, which believe it should follow the trend among the Commonwealth and other states and be split into two.

The proposed Health Legislation (Research Involving Human Embryos and Prohibition of Human Cloning) Bill will mirror Commonwealth law to ensure there are no loopholes. The Bill seeks to ban human cloning but permits research on excess embryos produced for the purpose of infertility treatment.

A spokeswoman for Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart said the stem-cell element of the legislation degraded and devalued the most vulnerable form of human life.

"We are praying that our leaders will renounce this legislation of death," she said.
The Commonwealth and Queensland have both passed the legislation and the Bill is before the South Australian Parliament.

In all cases, the legislation was split in two.

But Victoria may buck the trend by coupling the two pieces of legislation.


[Queensland] On road to human lab rats (Catholic Leader)

24 Mar 2003