Embryonic Stem Cell Research (2003)

Filed on 20 January 2003 in Submissions category. Print This Page

Embryonic Stem Cell Research – a Statement by Christian Leaders to Members of Parliament in Western Australia for their Consideration.
(August 2003 to Members of Parliament in Western Australia.)

We believe that the decisions we as a society make now regarding protection of embryonic human life will significantly shape our future. We therefore make the following statement:

We affirm that human life begins when a cell containing human chromosomes has the ability to replicate and differentiate into individual tissues (i.e. with fertilisation but also by cloning). The genetic pattern of such a cell is uniquely human and determines its adult characteristics. We further affirm that, being human life in the truest sense, the human embryo has intrinsic value and must be protected against experimentation or exploitation along with human life at any stage. We believe this to be a line that must not be crossed.

We deny that any other definition of the beginning of human life is acceptable. Concepts of personhood and self-awareness are arbitrary and capable of varying definition and are not acceptable.

We affirm from the evidence of many scientists that stem-cell research on adult tissues and other non-embryonic tissues (e.g. umbilical cord) already has proven benefits and safety as well as increasing promise for the future and that research on embryos is not as necessary as other scientists make out.

We deny that as ‘spare’ embryos are going to die anyway, then it is reasonable to use them for stem cell research or experiment on them in other ways. We submit this would be like asking whether it might be acceptable to do research or experiment on an unresponsive person who is near death.

We affirm (in answer to those who say that ‘religious’ people should keep out of the debate) our right – and indeed obligation – to speak for the future of our society. We assert that ‘natural’ Law is present in the heart of mankind; that this law exhorts us to protect the innocent and helpless and to uphold the sanctity and preciousness of life. We further assert that these are eternal and immutable principles that can only be ignored and rejected at our peril.

It is our plea that you will be sensitive to the seriousness of these unique and significant issues and vote against the proposed 2003 Amendment Bill to the Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991.

Rev Peter Abetz: Christian Reformed Churches of WA
Pastor Philip Baker: President, Australian Christian Churches
Dr Graeme Carroll: Chairman, Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship Aust, WA Branch
Pastor Bob Clark: President, Baptist Churches of WA
Pastor John Finkelde: North City Church
Mr Robert Greaves: Chairman, Standing Together Task Force
Pastor Dale E Hewitt: National Leader, Apostolic Church Australia
Pastor Graham Johnston: President, Churches of Christ WA
Dr Amanda Lamont: President, Catholic Doctors Association
Rev Dr John McElroy: Director, Southern Cross Assoc of Churches
Pastor Dwight Randall: Life Ministries
Prof Brian Stone: Past President, Baptist Churches of WA
Pastor David Storer: President, Assemblies of God WA
Rev Ian Touzel: Moderator, Presbytery of Perth, Westminster Presbyterian Church
Pastor Geoffrey Woodward: Chairman, Christian Outreach Centres of WA
Pastor Ashley Van Wyk: Supervisor, Church of the Foursquare Gospel WA

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