The New York Times on Tuesday examined the political debates in Australia over the legalization earlier this year of the medical abortion drug mifepristone and whether to pass legislation that would legalize some forms of cloning of human embryos for therapeutic purposes.
According to the Times, Australians often are divided on so-called "values" issues, but political debates on such issues "do not degenerate into personal attacks" as they sometimes do in the U.S. In addition, political candidates in Australia are "not concerned with playing to religious groups," and the political climate has led to Australian politicians having "candid debates on very emotional subjects," the Times reports.
The Australian Parliament in 2002 banned all types of cloning but called for a review of the ban after three years, and in 2005 a government-appointed committee recommended that therapeutic cloning be legalized.
The Australian Senate, after a recent "intense and emotional" debate, passed legislation by a 34-32 vote that would allow some forms of therapeutic cloning, according to the Times. The Australian House is expected to pass the cloning legislation next month (Bonner, New York Times, 11/22).
source - Kaiser Network