Pell says there's an alternative to cloning
Cardinal George Pell said yesterday that a ban on human cloning does not equate to abandoning care and concern for people suffering from injury and illness, because human stem cells can be taken from umbilical cord blood and the body tissues of children and adults.
The Archbishop of Sydney was commenting on the release of the Lockhart Committee's statutory review of the 2002 legislation banning cloning and prohibiting the creation of human embryos for the purpose of experimental destruction is out of step with human values.
He said that after expending millions of dollars, and the destruction of countless human embryos, human cloning and embryonic stem cell research are yet to deliver any treatments for human diseases.
"This only adds to the ethical and scientific arguments against these practices," he said. "This harms no one and has repeatedly yielded good results for treatment."
The Archdiocese of Sydney earlier this week awarded a $100,000 grant to a researcher in Melbourne who is using adult stem cells to research the accelerated regrowth of skin for burns victims.
Cardinal Pell said that the Lockhart Report takes it for granted that human embryos are merely a "resource" to be exploited, "like an inferior animal or plant". He said that it points the way to a destructive dead-end and provides no compelling reason for parliament to change the existing law.
The cardinal identified what he believes is a "strange logic at work in the report which prohibits cloning when it is reproductive but allows it when it is destructive".
"All human cloning is reproductive because all human cloning creates new human life," he said. "It is never 'therapeutic' to destroy human life, and creating human life for the sole purpose of killing for disputed scientific reasons makes a mockery of the therapeutic purpose of medical science."
"We call on the Australian community and its legislators to reject it," he concluded.
Cardinal George Pell: Statement on the Lockhart Report (Archdiocese of Sydney 22/12/05)
Church 'regret' at embryo cloning approval (CathNews 22/12/05)
Church reacts to embryo cloning advance (CathNews 20/12/05)
Cloning review called 'tragic' (Catholic Leader 25/12/05)
23 Dec 2005