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Regulating stem-cell research and human cloning in an Australian context: an exercise in protecting the status of the human subject

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Over 12 months prior to the recent United Nations decision to defer a decision about what type of international treaty should be developed in the global stem-cell research and human cloning debate, the Federal Parliament of Australia passed two separate pieces of legislation relating to both these concerns. After a five-year long process of community consultation, media spectacle and parliamentary debate, reproductive cloning has been banned in Australia and only embryos considered to be excess to assisted reproductive technologies in existence on the 5th of April 2002 are currently valid research material. This paper argues that underpinning both pieces of legislation is a profound belief in the disruptive potential of all types of human cloning for the very nature and integrity of human species being. A belief, moreover, that is based on a presumption that it is apparently possible to conceptualise what being human even means for all Australians.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Sociology, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 2052

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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