Friday, 10 August 2007

Draft Human Tissues & Embryos Bill

I've already posted my views on the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority's so-called consultation about the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos. Now SPUC have produced briefing papers on the Draft Human Tissues & Embryos Bill. I consider it to be diabolical that, in the year of the 40th Anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act (an Act which allows the killing of 500-600 babies each day), the Government have introduced this new threat against the dignity of the human person.

The briefing papers make it clear why we should fight tooth-and-nail against this bill. The draft bill proposes to:
1. merge the two current authorities (The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and the Human Tissue Authority);
2. extend the general scope of in vitro fertilisation;
3. extend the definition of “embryo” to include those created by cloning and other processes;
4. widen grounds for testing of human embryos to decide whether to transfer them to the womb;
5. widen grounds for research on human embryos that are not going to be transferred to the womb;
6. permit the creation of interspecies embryos for experiments;
7. permit gametes (sperm or eggs) to be taken from patients without consent.

In addition, some politicians have indicated that they will try to introduce amendments to this bill aimed at removing current legal restrictions on abortion. Others wish to tighten certain criteria, in particular, the 24 week limit for ‘social’ abortions.

Attempts to link abortion to this bill must be vigorously opposed because:
1. the abortion law could be made even worse than it is at present;
2. the law does contain restrictions and safeguards, which are not, but should be, enforced;
3. there is a large majority of MPs in parliament in favour of extending the availability of abortion even more widely than it is at present;
4. the current Labour government is likely to be sympathetic to attempts to loosen abortion restrictions;
5. attempts to improve abortion law by amendments introduced via a government bill have been tried in the past and have proved disastrous.

Some people might say that it's worth trying for a reduction in the number of abortions. However, I would just like to point out that SPUC's concerns about the Mental Capacity Bill were totally justified by subsequent events: attempts to "agree" to limit legislation of this sort are seen as weakness, and the Government just walk all over any such attempts.

SPUC is asking everyone to write to their MP opposing this legislation. The Briefing Paper which SPUC has prepared can be obtained HERE as a pdf file, and the details of the campaign, and the Annual Conference being held in September can be found HERE.


gemoftheocean said...

Great post, Mac. The devil never sleeps. BTW, which branch(es) of science do you specialize in?


Phil said...

Thanks for this excellent post, it's a GREAT help. I hope everyone who reads it will contact their MP.

I had a discussion about this yesterday and despite the fact that I was very cool and respectful towards the other person, he still blew his top. It comes down to the fact that only (nice) liberal people have a right to an opinion. As for their views of the unborn... well, they can't vote, so to hell (sic) with them.

Mulier Fortis said...

Karen - I'm teaching Chemistry at the moment (and I teach all sciences to Key Stage 3 - that's the 11-14 year-olds) However, I used to do research at the Institute of Psychiatry - the effects of alcohol on memory and the brain - and I was involved in some of the foetal tissue transplant work (before I came back to the Church, you understand) so I know what these scientists are doing, and what they are capable of. I used to be one of them!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for highlighting this, Mac!

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

A long, long time ago when I was young I was a member of Amnesty International (before they thought killing Terry Shiavo and babies was a great idea). The letter writing campaigns were well organised, targetted and well orchestrated.
We were helped with wording so that it was firm and polite and easy to do-it meant a LOT of letters, cards and so on got sent.

It seems to me that we could do with such an organisation for the Church so we can send cards, letters and petitions to MPS and Bishops.

Anyone got ideas how we could do this?
Some of you intelligent folk must be good with that precise turn of phrase that escapes the likes of me.
The power of the Blog!

Anonymous said...


Essentially, that's what SPUC is asking for. If it's something in the purview of Parliament, I always write to my MP (I don't think he likes me anymore, because he IGNORED both my letters about the SORs!).

Anonymous said...

Is your reversion story posted anyway, Mac? Would be very interested to read it!

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