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Ethical Rights

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Cloning and Embryonic Stem Cells

7. Embryonic Stem Cells and Human Cloning - Conclusions

1. Human reproductive cloning should be allowed once it is accepted to be safe, but that does not require a legislative ban. The usual conditions on a new technology would need to be applied, for example permission of the biological parents to be obtained for cloning and research purposes, ethics committees to be consulted for research purposes and so on.

2. I contend that the implications of the prohibitions on reproductive and non-reproductive human cloning have not been fully appreciated in the PHC Act. The Act is inconsistent with Principles 1, 2 and 3.

3. Stem cell research has potentially many benefits for Australians, and the destruction and research on human embryos (including cloned, chimeric and other embryos) should be permitted, especially when the destruction of embryos and fetuses routinely occurs during IVF procedures, IUD use and abortions.

4. I would conclude that there is no objective, non-discriminatory, non-safety reason to argue against human reproductive and non-reproductive cloning (based on Principles 1 and 2). In particular, human reproductive cloning should be permitted once shown to be safe. Non-reproductive cloning technology and research involving human embryos should be permitted in all its forms, subject to the conditions noted earlier. In vitro research on human embryos poses no ethical problems (based on Principle 3).

5. I propose that the PHC and RIHE Acts be amended to permit human cloning for non-reproductive and reproductive purposes and to permit in vitro research on human embryos.

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