Hart confronts Bracks over cloning legislation

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart has called on Catholic state premier Steve Bracks to reconsider plans to introduce a proposed Victorian law that would legalise the cloning of human embryos for medical research.

The Age reports that in his letter Archbishop Hart described cloning as "an assault on the dignity of the human person".

Archbishop Denis Hart urged all politicians, especially those expressing Christian beliefs, to reject the new legislation is to be debated in the Victorian Parliament next week.

The strong intervention of the archbishop places the church in opposition to Premier Bracks, who is Catholic and supports the change, The Age says.

The Premier has allowed a conscience vote on the issue, which is expected to pass but has already met the opposition of socially conservative members and at least one cabinet minister.

Archbishop Hart said it was wrong to believe cloned human embryos had no intrinsic value, arguing they "share the same human life that we all do".

The insight of the biblical and Christian tradition was not changed simply because of scientific claims of the potential benefits of therapeutic cloning, he said.

"To allow embryos to be deliberately created and then destroyed for scientific research is always unethical and would be an assault on the dignity of the human person at its most vulnerable."

Under the legislation, introduced by Health Minster Bronwyn Pike and mirroring federal laws, researchers would be allowed to clone human embryos for medical research through somatic nuclear transfer but would be specifically barred from merging a sperm and egg to create an embryo.

Cloning an assault on human dignity: archbishop (The Age, 12/4/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Cloning (Wikipedia)
Melbourne Archdiocese | Archbishop Denis Hart

Bracks defies Pope on cloning (CathNews, 19/3/07)
Archbishop Hart condemns cloning laws (CathNews, 14/3/07)
Christianity not driver in cloning vote: Garrett (CathNews, 19/12/06)
Christian opposition fails to stop cloning bill passage (CathNews, 7/12/06)
Late amendment puts cloning bill passage in doubt (CathNews, 6/12/06)
Premiers face stem cell backlash as Hart criticises debate (CathNews, 24/7/06)
Catholics divided over stem cells (CathNews, 14/7/06)
Don't lift ban on cloning, says Brennan (CathNews, 23/6/06)

12 Apr 2007