Biological Slavery

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Caldwell

THE Pope has attacked the manipulation and destruction of early human life in the most severe condemnation ever issued by the Church on biotechnology.

A document published yesterday on the direct orders of Benedict XVI upholds the teaching of the Church that every human life is sacred at every stage of its existence.

It denounces such new practices as destructive experimentation on human embryos in scientific research and the creation of animal-human hybrids as morally and ethically unacceptable.

It says human cloning is gravely injurious to human dignity and risks dragging humanity into biological slavery.

It describes pre-implantation diagnosis of embryos to avoid genetic defects or to create designer babies reflected a shameful and utterly reprehensible eugenic mentality.

In vitro fertilisation the process used to create test-tube babies is gravely wrong, says the document, because of the number of embryos created and destroyed to attain a single birth.

It also says that the practice implies a blithe acceptance of an enormous number of abortions.

The 32-page document, called Dignitatis Personae (the dignity of the person), insists that the use of the morning-after pill falls within the sin of abortion because it prevents fertilised ova, or zygotes, from implanting into their mothers wombs.

A Vatican instruction, it represents the most trenchant criticism of biotechnological techniques ever issued by a pope.

But it makes clear that the Church avidly supports technologies and research that result in healing rather than harming human life.

The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception and therefore from the same moment his or her rights as a person must be recognised, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life, the document says. …