The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada has passed a motion urging the federal government to prohibit the cloning of human beings. The 300-member synod consists of bishops, clergy and laity from 30 dioceses across the country and is the churchís highest governing body.
The mover of the proposal, Elizabeth Hutchinson of the diocese of Montreal, said the church has been approached repeatedly to make its position clear on the subject of cloning.
“While there appears to be widespread agreement in our society that there should be a moratorium on human cloning, there are some individuals in the scientific community who have expressed their intention to proceed,” she said. She added that some people have voiced the concern that international trade agreements will provide a means for these scientists to bypass any government moratoria.
The motion approved by synod calls on the Prime Minister of Canada and the federal Minister of Health to encourage the government to prohibit the cloning of whole human beings, and to ensure that international trade agreements do not become a means of dissemination of such cloning.
Synod also asked the Canadian bishops to raise the issue of human cloning at the Lambeth Conference, a meeting of 800 Anglican bishops from around the world to be held in Canterbury later this summer.
Phyllis Creighton, a member from the diocese of Toronto, said that the church must speak out on issues that the scientific community may ignore.
“There is a push in the scientific world to go further and further in the field of biotechnology,” she said. “But the church knows that there are deeper questions which must be asked about the impact of such technologies.”
She said that the scientific community and the wider society must examine whether cloning and other genetic techniques will enhance the wholeness and dignity of human life and will further the will of God. “When we are making choices about how we pursue biotechnology we must be aware of the difference between arrogance and wisdom,” Ms Creighton said.
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