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Church welcomes UN cloning ban

The Catholic Church has welcomed the non-binding United Nations vote against therapeutic cloning, especially in view of a local law review that is due to start in weeks.

The Age reports that Australia has backed a United Nations call for a ban on therapeutic cloning for stem cell research just weeks before an expert panel begins reviewing our own stem cell laws.

While Julie Bishop, the federal minister with responsibility for stem cell research and cloning, denied that Australia's international stance pre-empted the review, the Church welcomed the declaration and said it bolstered the case for a ban in Australia.

Marcia Riordan from the Respect Life Office of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne told The Age that Australia's UN vote bolsters the case for a permanent ban on therapeutic cloning.

"As far as we're concerned, all cloning is cloning, whether its therapeutic or (otherwise). Life should never be a commodity," she said.

Therapeutic cloning, in which a human embryo is created and then destroyed for its stem cells after about five days, is now illegal in Australia.

But laws covering embryo research passed in 2002 are due to lapse this year under a "sunset clause" and therapeutic cloning is one of the key issues the review panel will consider.

The UN declaration was proposed by Honduras and supported by Australia, the US and predominantly Catholic countries. It was opposed by Britain and most of Europe in an 84 to 34 vote, with 37 abstentions.

Australia backs stem cell ban call (The Age 10/3/05)

LINKS (not endorsed by Church Resources)
Respect Life Office, Archdiocese of Melbourne
John Paul II Instituite for Marriage & Family
Ad Hoc Committee on an International Convention against the Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings

UN adopts pro-life declaration against human cloning (CathNews 22/2/05)
Australia backs "Catholic" UN push on cloning (CathNews 22/11/04)

U.N. Approves Call for Ban on All Human Cloning (Zenit 8/3/05)
UN vote a veto on cloning (Daily Telegraph 10/3/05)
U.N. Blacks Human Cloning Ban (Pew Forum/Washington Post 9/3/05)
Scientists, ethicists applaud UN cloning decision (Catholic World News 9/3/05)
UN Backs U.S. Plea for Total Ban on Human Cloning (Reuters 9/3/05)
UN backs human cloning ban (The Advertiser 9/3/05)

10 Mar 2005