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Comments on Topical Issues

Cloning Human Beings

The news from Washington, D.C., at the end of January 2001 is that an international group of reproductive experts plans to launch a serious effort to clone humans.  A cloned human embryo could become a reality within two years.   According to the Zenit news agency, a viable embryo, probably created using stem cells or other cells taken from an adult, could be available for implantation in the woman's uterus within 18 months.  This is the opinion of Dr. Panayiotis Zavos, a doctor who works at the Andrology Institute of America, and the Kentucky Center for Reproductive Medicine and In Vitro Fertilization in Lexington, Kentucky.

The Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare comments:

So scientists in the USA are to attempt to clone human embryos after all.   Didn't we always know they would?  Animals first, humans next - that is the pattern.  Surely now is the time for the Catholic Church to speak up against the use of experimenting on animals?  If the ethics of the defence of life were to be extended to cover all living sentient beings, not only would billions of animals be saved from extreme cruelty, but human beings, from natural conception to natural death, would stand a far better chance of being protected.  People would be protected too from the effects of drugs (including vaccines, food additives, pesticides) 'safety tested' on animals - a notoriously unreliable, often counter-productive, process. No wonder millions of patients suffer from adverse reactions to animal-tested drugs when arsenic and strychnine, for example, can be tolerated by sheep and guinea-pigs respectively, while guinea pigs succumb to penicillin and cats to aspirin. Scientists in the field admit that you cannot extrapolate from animals to humans with any confidence - ask any of the hundreds of members of the group 'Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine'. So why does government continue to endorse these unethical and useless practices? Could it be to protect jobs in Huntingdon (UK) and enable bio-pharmaceutical companies to rush their protects onto the market? The Church can have no such excuse, so before she deplores the consequences of such researches let her examine the causes and begin to be truly pro life.

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