Cloning: how far will states ban go?by News WeeklyNews Weekly
, July 14, 2001
On June 8, the Prime Minister and State Premiers met at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting to discuss, among other matters, uniform legislation on the issue of human cloning.
The agreed aim was for "nationally consistent provisions in legislation to prohibit human cloning" with "a report from Health Ministers by the end of the year on technical issues with the aim of a nationally consistent approach being in place in all jurisdictions by June 2002".
While it appears there is general agreement on banning reproductive cloning, to produce a baby, there is no uniform agreement on cloning for therapeutic purposes. Therapeutic cloning aims to produce new tissues to cure ailments, but it involves the destruction of a human embryo.
The National Health and Medical Research Council's Ethics Committee has recommended banning all forms of cloning. The Federal Government's current inquiry on cloning is yet to issues its recommendations.
As News Weekly
has reported, recent research has revealed that adult stem cells are proving far more hopeful in providing new therapies than therapeutic cloning. Adult stem cells are naturally occurring and their use does not involve the creation of a human embryo.
However, many scientists support therapeutic cloning to give them access to embryos for research purposes.