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Christian opposition fails to stop cloning bill passage


The controversial cloning bill has passed the House of Representatives in a conscience vote last night despite opposition from new Leader of the Opposition, Kevin Rudd, and other prominent Christian MPs.

Prime Minister John Howard, Treasurer Peter Costello, Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile, Health Minister Tony Abbott, as well as Labor MPs Peter Garrett, Gavan O'Connor and Tony Burke were among those who voted against the bill, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Those in favour of the bill included cabinet ministers Brendan Nelson, Julie Bishop, Ian Macfarlane, Alexander Downer and Philip Ruddock and Labor frontbenchers Julia Gillard, Simon Crean, Jenny Macklin and Wayne Swan.

Opponents failed in a last-ditch attempt to amend the bill to prohibit use of foetal tissue for cloning, a measure critics said would mean aborted female foetuses would be harvested to extract eggs for the creation of embryos.

Speaking in the debate, Mr Rudd said he found it difficult to support a bill for the "single and explicit purpose of conducting experimentation on human life."

"I find it very difficult to support a legal regime which allows creation of a form of human life with the single purpose of allowing the conduct of experimentation.

"I am concerned with the crossing of such an ethical threshold and where it may lead in the long term," he said

Holding back tears while talking about the death of his mother - a "Catholic from central casting" - from Parkinsons' disease two years ago, he said "I asked mum way back when for her views on that (previous vote on stem cells four years ago)".

"She said that's a question for your conscience, not mine. Mum died two years ago, so she's not here to ask about this one."

Mr Howard said he had not been convinced that the scientific evidence justified changing the existing prohibition on so-called therapeutic cloning.

"I think we live in an age where we have slid too far into relativism," he said.

"There are some absolutes in our society and what we're talking about here is a moral absolute, and that's why I can't support this legislation."

The legislation would allow the cloning of embryos for research through somatic cell nuclear transfer, commonly called therapeutic cloning.

The House of Representatives vote follows a narrow one-vote majority in the Senate in favour of the private member's bill introduced by the former health minister Kay Patterson.

The amendment was lost 76 to 53, and the bill went through the rest of the proceedings without a formal division.

Mr Abbott, an avowed Catholic opponent of cloning, acknowledged that even though he was opposed, he could not say how he would respond if the process led to a treatment which could save a loved one.


SOURCE
Embryo cloning gets the go-ahead (Sydney Morning Herald, 7/12/06)
PM, Rudd oppose cloning (Daily Telegraph, 7/12/06)
MPs give all-clear to clone embryos (The Australian, 7/12/06)
How the MPs voted (Sydney Morning Herald, 7/12/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction and the Regulation of Human Embryo Research Amendment Bill 2006 (Australian Senate)
Kevin Rudd

ARCHIVE
Late amendment puts cloning bill passage in doubt (CathNews, 6/12/06)
Pell in last minute appeal against cloning vote (CathNews, 27/11/06)
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)

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

ARCHIVE
Late amendment puts cloning bill passage in doubt (CathNews, 6/12/06)
Pell in last minute appeal against cloning vote (CathNews, 27/11/06)
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)


7 Dec 2006