Following hard on the heels of Democrat Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja’s cloning bill, Liberal Senator Kay Patterson has just introduced her own version into the Senate. Both feed off of the recent Lockhart recommendations, and both seek to further dehumanise and cannibalise human life.
At the moment a Senate Committee is holding an inquiry into the whole affair, and submissions need to be in by October 4. It is vital that everyone concerned about the way we treat human life puts in a submission. Details of the inquiry can be found here: www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/clac_ctte/leg_response_lockhart_review/index.htm
For the average Joe, an evaluation of proposed legislation can be a daunting task. Both the Stott-Despoja and Patterson bills are filled with the usual technical and legal terminology that may put off concerned citizens from interacting with them. There is the text of the bill and the explanatory memorandum. Both require some nous and expertise to make sense of.
To help us cut to the quick, a few experts on these issues have sought to simplify things. Thus David van Gend for example, of Do No Harm, has provided a very readable and accessible explanation of what Patterson is intending to achieve. In his Blog site for September 26, 2006, he lays out the basics of what she is actually proposing.
“Senator Patterson’s Bill does more than just allow the unethical cloning of human embryos with their destruction in mind. It allows scientists to create animal-human hybrid embryos, it allows scientists to create human embryos with more than two genetic parents, and it allows scientists to create human embryos where one of the parents is an aborted human foetus.”
He continues, “Under her Bill aborted baby girls could become mothers of human embryos that will themselves be killed for research! This is sick science; this is a moral assault on our humanity, on the meaning of the human family, and on the inviolable right of any living human being not to be exploited and killed as subhuman material.”
Van Gend reminds us that when this topic was first debated in Parliament back in 2002, Patterson was very much opposed to these very things. Says van Gend: “She stated in 2002: ‘I believe strongly that it is wrong to create human embryos solely for research’, yet today she tables a Bill permitting the creation of human embryos, by a range of morally degraded methods, solely for research.”
Other quotes made by Patterson back then are cited: “She stated in 2002: ‘It is not morally permissible to develop an embryo with the intent of truncating it at an early stage for the benefit of another human being’, but now what was impermissible is suddenly permissible – and no explanation for this ethical backflip is given!”
And again, “She assured us in 2002 that there would be no slippery slope: that because ‘the Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill 2002 bans the creation of a human embryo for a purpose other than achieving a pregnancy’ therefore ‘it is disingenuous to suggest that approving this research will open the door to further killing of living human beings’. Now she proposes the further killing of any number of living human beings – whether created by SCNT cloning, or from the eggs of aborted human babies, or hybridized with animals, or from multiple parents.”
Why the Senator has made such a complete turn around is unclear. Clearly she, along with her colleagues, has been heavily lobbied by Big Biotech. She clearly needs to be reminded of her own words, uttered just four years ago.
Dr. van Gend concludes: “Our Parliament is faced with a clear choice: it can declare again, as in 2002, that it is wrong to create human embryos with their destruction in mind, or it can abandon this just and humane ethical position, instead supporting Patterson’s barbaric proposal to create and kill human embryos on the altar of speculative science.”
Exactly right. Australia is at a moral crossroads here. It can move further into brave new world territory where we clone and kill, or we can step back and say enough is enough. Can I suggest that just as Big Biotech and other groups with vested interests have been regularly lobbying our Parliamentarians, so should we. I encourage all my Australian readers to contact their Federal Senators and Members, and make the case for life. And all of us should be putting in a submission – no matter how brief – to the current Senate inquiry. Failure to do so will take us further down the road of dehumanisation and depersonalisation.