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Australian Senate lifts therapeutic cloning ban

[JURIST] The Australian Senate [official website] voted Tuesday to lift restrictions on stem cell research and permit the therapeutic cloning of human embryos. By a 34-32 vote, lawmakers approved the Prohibition of Human Cloning for Reproduction and the Regulation of Human Embryo Research Amendment Bill 2006 [legislative materials], which also includes stricter penalties of up to 15 years in prison for anyone convicted of attempting to buy human egg, sperm or embryo faces.

Australia's parliament voted in 2002 to allow researchers to extract stem cells from extra embryos originally intended for use in in vitro fertilization, but did not permit the use of those cells in cloning. The Australian House of Representatives [official website] will consider the latest legislation later this month. AP has more. The Sydney Morning Herald has local coverage.

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