Another report on the legalisation of therapeutic cloning for the Australian Parliament, written this time by a Senate committee, has split on the issue. By a vote of 5 to 3, a committee backed a private member’s bill which will be decided on a conscience vote. The majority basically endorsed all the recommendations of last December’s Lockhart Review. These include, either explicitly or implicitly, therapeutic cloning, hybrid embryos, creating embryos with genetic material from more than two people, the use of surplus IVF embryos, a new definition of a human embryo, and the possibility of harvesting eggs from cadavers or aborted female foetuses.
The Australian newspaper predicts that the issue will be decided by a close vote — about 55 per cent for, 45 per cent against — perhaps as early as next week. There has been intense lobbying for and against the bill.
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