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Melbourne Church warning on stem cell bill before State Parliament

Melbourne's Archbishop Denis Hart has commented on the Embryo Experimentation Bill that is likely to be passed this week by the Victorian Upper House.

The Victorian parliament's lower house has passed the Health Legislation (Research Involving Human Embryos and Prohibition of Human Cloning) Bill 2003. The new legislation provides for the legalisation of the use of surplus IVF embryos to be used for stem cell research. The bill still needs to be passed by the upper house, the Legislative Council, but the government was confident the legislation would meet no major obstacle.

A statement released by Archbishop Hart's office recognises positive aspects to the bill, such as the banning of the creation of human embryos for research purposes and human cloning.

But Archbishop Hart warned there is a "darker side" to the Bill.

"Thousands of human IVF embryos lie in laboratory freezers today, powerless, voiceless, unseen," he said. "They are human. They are alive. They are what we all once were. And so they should be treated with reverence and love."

"Until now it has been illegal in the State of Victoria to kill human embryos - or anyone else - for experimental purposes," he said. "Now for the first time in legal history we will be treating a live human being as a lab animal or a commodity."

Archdiocese of Melbourne

Vics pass stem cell bill (Herald-Sun)
Archdiocese of Melbourne

26 Mar 2003