I argue that the moral value of democracy requires parliamentarians to acknowledge the informed views of the wider community here, and to resist lobbying by church leaders on this replica oakleys issue.Religionlawembryonic stem cell researchRoman Catholic churchdemocracySkene and Parker raise important questions about religious doctrine influencing law and public policy when the Roman Catholic Church is granted amicus curiae status to intervene in civil litigation involving cases with significant legal ramifications.1 Parallel concerns arise when the church invokes religious doctrine in attempting to determine public policy and law more directly, through the lobbying of politicians, in cases where the church’s view is at odds with the informed views of the wider community.Just as judges have role based obligations to decide cases by appeal to legal principle, so too, politicians have role based obligations to acknowledge the informed views of the broader community, in deciding on matters of public policy and legislation. The legal regulation of embryonic stem cell research is another area where the Roman Catholic Church has endeavoured to make the law reflect church teachings, not through the courts but through politicians themselves.In Australia, for example, the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, urged Prime Minister Howard to enact a total ban on embryonic stem cell research, on the grounds that such research violates the sanctity and inherent dignity of human life that is present in its earliest stages. And, unhappy at being outvoted by the federal parliamentary standing committee he chaired, Catholic MP Kevin Andrews reportedly lobbied federal cabinet to prohibit stem cell research on spare IVF embryos.Those who support a total ban on embryonic stem cell research sometimes talk as if theirs are the only views based on moral principle.
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IntroductionThe Cochrane Review1 on water fluoridation for the prevention of dental caries was published in 2015 (referred to in this article as the Cochrane Review) and attracted considerable interest and comment, especially in countries with extensive community water fluoridation programmes. The Cochrane Review had two stated objectives: (i) to evaluate the effects of water fluoridation (artificial or natural) on the prevention of dental caries, and (ii) to evaluate the effects of water fluoridation (artificial or natural) on dental fluorosis. However, they found that there was very little recent or contemporary evidence, meeting the Cochrane Review’s inclusion criteria, that has evaluated the effectiveness of water fluoridation for the prevention of dental caries.