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Adelaide Archbishop urges MPs not to change law on embryos

Research on human embryos will create an "expendable class of human life", according to Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide.

Controversial new legislation allowing human embryos to be destroyed during research into disease prevention and fertility treatments will be voted on in the South Australian Parliament this week.

Archbishop Wilson has written to all state MPs urging them not to lift the protection offered to embryos under the State's law.

He says the Research Involving Human Embryos Bill sets an arbitrary cut-off point of eight weeks of age at which an embryo "suddenly turns into a human being and is then worthy of dignity".

Archbishop Wilson says an embryo is an "undeniably distinct human entity" which must be protected and nurtured.

The Federal Parliament had crossed a dangerous line in its embryonic stem cell legislation under which "human life becomes a commercially disposable commodity".

"I fear that if such attitudes prevail in this parliamentary debate, SA is headed down the same slippery slope towards creating an expendable class of human life," he says.

A second Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill was expected to be supported widely by MPs.

The Advertiser

Research Involving Human Embryos Bill 2003
Southern Cross Bioethics Institute
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference: Cloning, Embryo and Stem Cell Research
Melbourne Church warning on stem cell bill before State Parliament (26/3/03)
Bioethics Centre critical of Beattie ploy to undermine conscience vote (6/3/03)

29 Apr 2003