November 16th 2002

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Terrorism and our population policy

VICTORIA: Bracks launches shock bid for second term

AGRICULTURE: Sugar collapse will hit Queensland economy

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Defence chickens come home to roost

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Vanity, all is vanity / That was the town that was

QUEENSLAND: ALP browns off its rank-and-file

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Electricity: half-way to privatisation?

COMMENT: Another Pink Ribbon Day

LETTERS: Vietnam commitment (letter)

LETTERS: Democrats (letter)

Senate report on Embryo Research Bill analysed

COMMENT: Universities in 2002: what would Newman think?

ECONOMICS: Can capitalism be rescued?

COMMENT: Lack of respect for early human life must be addressed

COMMENT: Australians - better people than we know

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Lack of respect for early human life must be addressed

by David Perrin

News Weekly, November 16, 2002
With the killing of human embryos for medical research presently being considered by all parliaments in Australia, the unborn human has little or no moral or legal status.

The major part of the debate about killing human embryos for medical research revolved around the status of the 71,000 frozen human embryos in Australia. These human embryos are, in the opinion of some, "surplus" and are therefore available to be killed to obtain stem cells, test drugs or in other medical experiments.

The definition of a human that is surplus only can come about where that human has no status, for if embryos had status, they would also have rights, including the right to life.

"Unviable" humans

In evidence given to the Australian Senate committee, one of the witnesses from the IVF industry disclosed that there are some 40,000 "unviable" human embryos created in Australia every year during the IVF process.

These human embryos are never implanted in women or frozen, some being used to perfect IVF techniques or in experiments.

These hapless human embryos are simply used as a raw material for the scientists because the human embryo has no status in our society.

Before the last federal election, the Howard Government approved the use of the morning after pill (Postinor 2) without any public debate.

The effect of this pill is to stop a fertilised human embryo from implanting in a women's womb, thus killing the "unwanted" human embryo in a deliberate act of destruction. In this case the "unwanted" human embryo suffers the same fate as other status-less human embryos.

There were in excess of 100,000 medical abortions in Australia last financial year. Abortions are freely available for any reason whatsoever as evidenced by recent ACT laws that made abortions completely legal with no questions asked.

These hapless victims are killed because they are "inconvenient" to the parents and because they have no status.

There is no legal recognition in Australia for unborn humans. Occasionally, Australian courts will accept the legal status of unborn humans that are damaged as a consequence of incidents such as car accidents but these are rare.

Australia urgently needs laws that give protection to all unborn humans from the commencement of life to birth, otherwise the killing culture will never abate.

But probably more importantly, there is a moral vacuum on the status of unborn humans in Australia. Few political or community leaders are willing to stand up for the unborn.

Because the unborn are so powerless they need community leaders to argue on their behalf.

During the current debate on killing human embryos for medical research, an unusual coalition of religious leaders from most religious faiths came together to argue for the status of unborn humans, but their pleas largely fell on deaf ears with the politicians.

Killing culture

As our current political leaders are part of the killing culture, any changes in the status of defenceless humans must come from the people.

The religious leaders need the help of a broad coalition of ordinary Australians who understand that our unborn need protection and the killing is far more extensive than ever anticipated.

Importantly the killing culture is getting worse and extending to more and more of the unborn.

This information on the expansion of killing in our society must be drawn to the attention of all politicians.

From the votes taken so far, most politicians think that it is OK to kill the unborn if some good can come of it. Doing evil (killing) that good may be done is a principle that is widely accepted.

There are too few pro-life MPs in our parliaments, in fact none of the major political parties has a pro-life platform.

Apart from some small Christian-based political parties, pro-life issues and the status of unborn humans never rate a mention in the voting intentions of voters.

Until ordinary Australians force the issue by voting for pro-life candidates at elections - no matter which party they come from - the status of unborn humans will never improve.

  • David Perrin is National President of the Australian Family Association

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