A group of experts has met in Melbourne to begin to develop a Catholic position on cloning. The meeting provided a forum for discussion among progessionals in science, law and ethics. The meeting arose after the National Health and Medical Research Council's advice to the Commonwealth Minister last December that cloning of human embryos to be used for research and for developing organs and tissues for transplantation should be permissible.
    The meeting's convenor, ethicist Nicholas Tonti-Filipini, said: "There is a need for an intelligent, informed response founded upon respect for the human person and the dignity of procreation."
   In a feature in the 18 April edition of the Melbourne Catholic newspaper Kairos, he puts forward the idea that clones are orphans by definition. "Instead of coming into existence through a personal act of parental love, these beings would embody the love of no one. They are a new sort of orphan, bereft of even genetic parents from the first moment of their existence. Producing embryos through cloning should be distinguished from legitimate research involving ordinary human body cells. Such cells ahve no capacity to develop as a human being."
    Mr Tonti-Filippini criticised the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Academy of Science for their declaration that producing human embryos is not actually producing human beings, and that embryos ma;y be used as a source of tissue for treatment or research.

11:18am 13/4/99 / INSERT_SOURCE_HERE


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