Since being elected leader of the Labor party Kevin Rudd has said he offers a new style of leadership and an alternative policy platform rather than an echo of the Government. Really?
On the issue of legislation which will implement the recommendations of the Lockhart review into stem cell research, including a new process of allowing embryonic cloning, Kevin certainly has an alternative policy platform, but it’s alternative to former leader Kim Beazley. What I’m really looking for is an alternative to HoWARd.
Kevin Rudd: “I find it very difficult to support a legal regime that supports the creation of a human life for the single and explicit purpose of experimentation on that human life”
John HoWARd: “I don’t think the science has shifted enough to warrant the parliament changing its view (since the 2002 vote to ban therapeutic cloning).”
My concern is that Kevin has articulated his belief that human life begins at conception. What may be the implications on choice this may have for Australian women in the future.
The Lockhart review suggests that,
A fundamental judgement needs to be made about when a fertilised egg becomes a potential life form deserving of special ethical respect and treatment. A key recommendation of the Committee was for a clearer definition of what a human embryo is. The current statutory definition catches embryos from about the age of 22 hours to about 8 weeks. This is in stark contrast to the definition which many in the scientific community would prefer.
The UK’s Warnock Committee were of the view that until the fourteenth day of development most cells of the embryo had the potential to develop into tissue which would not even form part of the ultimate foetus (such as placenta or the amniotic sac), and that cells which were identifiable as dedicated to the development of the foetus itself would not be determined until at least day 14 after conception. Defining an embryo before this stage as a ‘potential life’ therefore, according to the Warnock Committee was ‘inaccurate and misleading.’
Image from here