UK CLONING IMMORAL
Item on the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland's opposition to UK cloning of embryos, as the British Government is poised to cross the human cloning threshold by becoming the first country to allow and finance human embryo cloning.
For more on human genetics see: http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/gmhuman.htm
See also: European Union ethics panel report + press release on embryo cloning, as
news article: Embryo cloning for research is "premature," warns EU
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BBC Online UK: Scotland 27 November 2000
Churchman attacks cloning as 'immoral' - Cardinal Winning is against embryo research
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has repeated his
opposition to the use of cloning for medical research. Cardinal Thomas
Winning was speaking ahead of a Commons debate on regulations which would
extend the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Act 1990. MPs and peers will
be given a free vote on the new regulations which Cardinal Winning said
would "pave the way" for designer babies. If approved, they would allow
human embryos to be used for stem cell research, which could lead to new
treatments for Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis,
spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer's and insulin dependent diabetes. But Cardinal Winning said that even though the "end is good", the "means are immoral" as they resulted in the death of "tiny cloned human beings".
He warned: "This scenario will become reality in a matter of months unless we waken up. The churchman also expressed "alarm" that the issue would only be debated for 90 minutes in Parliament. It could take place as early as Tuesday.
'Pariah state' The UK would become a "pariah" state if it allowed human embryos to be cloned, he predicted.
"Opponents of cloning will have just 30 minutes to halt this descent
into madness - 30 minutes to stop the UK becoming the pariah state
of Europe," he said. However, the cardinal rejected claims that this was
another example of the church being backward-looking and out of step with
popular opinion. He said: "I wish science was more advanced too, so it
hurts me when people paint the
church as being somehow anti-progress. "In fact, I look upon any medical or scientific progress as if God were opening up the secrets of creation for our benefit. The truth is, research is not
a problem for us. How it is done is the problem."
Westminster Health Minister Yvette Cooper has promised a free vote for MPs and peers on any new legislation. But she has ruled out the production of human embryo clones being allowed for reproductive purposes and promised tight control of any new procedures. "It is absolutely untrue that these regulations will give the go-ahead for reproductive cloning. Reproductive cloning is illegal. It will stay illegal," she said.
[Entered November 28, 2000]