under the patronage of St Joseph and St Dominic
By the rivers of Babylon there we sat and wept, remembering Zion;
Dear Mr Howard,
This proposed legislation, if passed, will have far reaching consequences for the nation.
Human life is not to be equated with the life of any other species of animal. Human intellect and will are not just elevated sensory powers. They operate at another and higher level of reality which the great philosophers call 'the immaterial'. Order, justice, mercy, peace, economy, humour, irony--the proper objects and the works of human intellect--are not material but immaterial things. Concepts are immaterial things.
A power which deals with immaterial things must be immaterial, ie, not comprised of matter. And that which exercises such an immaterial power must itself be immaterial. Such is the human soul. The soul of man, then, is to be distinguished from his body. His body may die, but his soul, since it is immaterial, cannot die.
How can a being whose defining part is immaterial be brought into existence by a merely material act of generation? The logical answer is that of the Catholic Church--it occurs by an act of individual creation by God. So the Church teaches that life is to be protected from the very moment of conception.
It is in his immateriality that man's innate dignity lies. For an immaterial substance, since it cannot be destroyed, is not a means to an end but an end in itself. This is why man has rights which may not be denied, why we have laws preventing abuse and murder. It is why slavery is abhorrent. It is also why the proposal to allow experimentation on embryos is abhorrent.
These embryos are just as much human beings as the mentally and physically handicapped--as paupers, premiers and prime ministers. The poor, the defenceless, the weak--the widow and the orphan, as sacred scripture calls them--are to be defended. Society only exists for the sake of fostering and protecting its members. Numerous elements of legislation acknowledge this principle. But the principle is being deeply eroded. Typically, those intent on destroying human rights attack the weakest in society--those who cannot fight back.
The child is entitled to be conceived in the mother's womb, not, as part of an experiment, in a test tube. He is entitled to be born, to grow to maturity, to exercise the talents God has given him and himself to contribute to society.
Many Australians justly criticise the use of child labour in third world countries to produce cheap goods for us. The attitude is admirable. The manufacturing of embryos outside the womb and their retention in a state of suspended animation is in the same category--the total subjection of the rights of some for the benefit of others. It is slavery whatever name you give it.
The National Socialist government in Nazi Germany held that there was no absolute right to life. The lives of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and other non-Aryans were judged not worth living. Their persons could be abused, subjected to experimentation or killed. In the United States not so long ago Dr Kevorkian advocated experimentation on the inmates of death row. That suggestion revolted all right thinking people. But how was it any different from what is proposed by this legislation? The scientists want these tiny humans alive to further their experiments.
These embryos have been manufactured without regard to their rights to normal human development. There is no prospect of their growing to maturity. To use them for the benefit of society would be to subject the end (the person) to the means (society).
Should the legislation be passed, there are a number of consequences which will flow.
1. Once the breach of the principle is admitted for these 70,000, there is no logical basis on which experimentation on others in the future could be resisted. The law has a teaching function and the admission of the breach will rob any subsequent prohibition of moral force. Scientists are already convinced that they know better than to be subjected to the rule of law. Good ends in their view justify any means.
2. No person of good conscience will be able to take advantage of the benefits which allegedly will flow from such experimentation because to do so would involve them in cooperation with the evil committed It would mean that they would be benefitting from the killing of others.
3. No person of good conscience will be able to vote for a politician who has supported this evil. It would be like voting for those who support abortion.
There are those in society who take the view that the Coalition Parties are the only parties they can support because they find the policies of the other parties abhorrent. The introduction of this legislation will effectively deprive these people of a vote if their Coalition candidate is in favour of it. They may take the only course open to them and deprive the Coalition even of their preferences by voting informally.
The evils which threaten society can be avoided. But crimes against the innocent cry to Heaven for vengeance. Why should evil not befall a society which slaughters the weak and defenceless? The number killed in the destruction of the twin towers in New York was about the number of infants killed on any one day in the abortion mills of the United States.
For the last month the relics of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus--a saint with a special regard for little children--have been honoured in churches all over Australia. She is one of the patron saints of Australia. We pray through her intercession that if you do choose to proceed with this legislation it will be roundly defeated and the abortion mentality which so dominates Australian society will be reversed.
Michael Baker, Solicitor, St Marys, NSW
Raymond de Souza, broadcaster, St Gabriel Communications, Forrestfield, WA
Martin Flood, FRACS, FRCS (Eng.), Surgeon, Wahroonga, NSW
Dr Belinda Goodwin, MBBS (Qld), Pullenvale, QLD
Babette Francis, Endeavour Forum, VIC
Charles Francis QC, Tookak, VIC,
Paul Hanrahan, president, Human Life International (Australia), NSW
Anne Lastman, Abortion Grief Counsellor, Glen Waverley, VIC
Fr John Walter PP, Riverwood, NSW