Pell in last minute appeal against cloning vote

Gearing up for a last minute bid to defeat the stem cell bill to be debated by the House of Representatives this week, Sydney Cardinal George Pell has pleaded against a decision that would "waste government money on unproductive research".

Cardinal Pell made his comments in the Sunday Telegraph ahead of a vote in the House of Representatives on controversial laws that allow the creation of cloned embryos for stem cell research.

The laws are expected to be passed by Federal Parliament as early as Thursday, the Australian reports.

West Australian Liberal MP Mal Washer, a medical doctor who has become a passionate advocate for stem cell research, will introduce the private member's bill to the House of Representatives.

"I am expecting the bill to pass, but I do think the vote will be tight," Mr Washer said.

But Cardinal Pell says that "if the House of Representatives repeats the mistake narrowly made in the Senate, we shall be pushed further and faster down a slippery slope.

"Ignorance and confusion abound on these matters, but principles of long-term importance are being broken and new movable standards are being erected temporarily to be further 'improved' in the years ahead," he said.

"Few Australians would know that the bill proposes to legalise the manufacture of cloned embryos with only one genetic parent; hybrid embryos with multiple genetic parents, and embryos whose mother is an aborted girl foetus.

"Scientists propose to use the immature eggs (precursor cells) from aborted baby girls to create human embryos for experimentation and destruction."

Despite the claims of researchers, "human embryonic stem cells have produced none of the cures foreshadowed," Cardinal Pell said.

"There is no evidence of medical breakthroughs which might justify the Federal Parliament in removing the protective barriers erected in 2002.

"Therefore [Parliamentarians] should: preserve the present legal protections on human life; not waste government money on unproductive research, and be clear about what they are permitting now and preparing for in the future," Cardinal Pell concluded.

Cloning not path to cures (Sunday Telegraph, 26/11/06)
Stem cell go-ahead just days away (The Age, 27/11/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archbishop George Pell (Archdiocese of Sydney)
Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction and the Regulation of Human Embryo Research Amendment Bill 2006 (Australian Senate)

Cloning fight not over, say clerics (CathNews, 9/11/06)
Lobbying fails in narrow Senate vote on cloning bill (CathNews, 8/11/06)
Cloning bill still to be won, says Catholic Health (CathNews, 6/11/06)
Pell slams "pro-cloners" (CathNews, 2/11/06)
No cloning cures for Catholics, says Bishop Fisher (CathNews, 23/10/06)
Bishops step up campaign against cloning (CathNews, 20/10/06)
Proponents of therapeutic cloning should cool it: Pell (CathNews, 25/8/06)
Catholic groups reject claims of stem cells breakthrough (CathNews, 24/8/06)
Poll shows Australians against cloning, Campion Director says (CathNews, 22/8/06)
Abbott lashes "evangelical" stem cell scientists (CathNews, 21/8/06)
Catholic parliamentarians in firing line again over stem cells (CathNews, 16/8/06)
Catholic union official compares therapeutic cloning to Nazi experiments (CathNews, 4/8/06)
Premiers face stem cell backlash as Hart criticises debate (CathNews, 24/7/06)
Catholics divided over stem cells (CathNews, 14/7/06)

27 Nov 2006