The Australian House of Representatives has just voted to allow the passage of a clone and kill bill. The Patterson Bill was passed by a vote of 82 to 62. This is very worrying news indeed. This will certainly take us further down the slippery slope into even more dehumanisation and depersonalisation, with Big Biotech trumping ethical and humanitarian concerns.
The commodification of life and the assault on personhood has just gotten much more pronounced. To deliberately bring a human life into existence for the sole purpose of killing it in order to conduct experiments on it sounds like something we fought a World War over.
The ironic thing is that some MPs four years ago voted against human cloning, but they have now gone the other way. While nothing has really changed on the cloning front, and no human cures have yet to come from embryonic stem cell research, the number of human therapies from adult stem cells continues to climb.
Yet a very seductive and efficient pro-cloning campaign was conducted to sway gullible MPs to vote for the snake oil of embryo research. Promises of miracle cures were too tempting for some. But the real science of curing and helping people had been, and continues to be, coming from adult stem cell research.
The good news in all this bad news is all the major political party leaders did the right thing. John Howard and Peter Costello of the Liberals, Mark Vaile of the Nationals, and Kevin Rudd of Labor, all voted against the bill. These leaders deserve great praise for doing the right thing instead of caving in to political expediency. It is a pity that so many other Members were hoodwinked by the hype of the cloning lobby.
With each new decision taken to allow Big Pharma and unethical science to move us in the direction of a brave new world, another bit of humanity is whittled away. Each new step by the cloning lobby will be another step away from the preciousness of life and our common humanity.
It seems we have gone down this path before, but the lessons of history are soon forgotten. Or we choose to forget those lessons. But as Santayana reminded us, we will be doomed to repeat the past if we will not learn from it.
What has happened tonight in Australia is not the end of the world. But it is another step along a road which we should not be taking. It is another step on a path that will usher in marvels of technology, but minus the human soul and spirit. Many prophets have warned us of what such a world will look like. It is scandalous that we have not paid greater attention to their warnings.