British scientists want to install human genomes in cow and rabbit eggs to produce stem cell lines for research purposes. Reuters reports :
Hybrid animal-human embryos created for medical research should be viewed as human and permitted to develop into children, Roman Catholic bishops have urged the British parliament…Catholic bishops of England and Wales want women to have the right to bear the chimeras, which would be more than 99 percent human, as their own children, they told a parliamentary committee examining the legislation on Tuesday.
The divines making the argument are apparently under the erroneous impression that human eggs are involved the research. If that were the case, then human genomes installed in human eggs might result in a fully human cloned baby who would clearly have all the rights that other human babies have. But that's not what is happening in this case. Whether or not human genomes transplanted into cow or rabbit eggs could produce a chimeric baby that was genetically more than 99 percent human (the mitochondrial genomes would be rabbit or cow) is not known.
Since Roman Catholic doctrine teaches that embryos are the moral equivalent of 30 year-olds, it not surprising that the Bishops are grappling with the question of how much human DNA must an entity–even an embryo–have before obtaining human moral standing?