Media Release: Tuesday, 26 September, 2006

“Has a more repulsive and inhuman Bill ever been brought before the Australian Parliament?”, asked Dr David van Gend, spokesman for Australians for Ethical Stem Cell Research.

“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. 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.

“Senator Patterson is asking her colleagues to follow her lead in abandoning their united ethical position of only four years ago. In 2002 the Parliament said that while we could use ‘spare’ IVF embryos who were ‘going to die anyway’, it unanimously declared it was wrong to create human embryos solely for research, whether by cloning or any other means. Paterson was amongst the most outspoken opponents of such an abuse.

• 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.

• 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!

• 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.

“Our Parliament is faced with a clear choice – to declare, as it did in 2002, that it is wrong to create human embryos with their destruction in mind, or to support Paterson in this assault on our humanity. ENDS.