Saturday, 15 March 2008

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

Inspired by Exiled Preacher, I have just written to my MP, Dr Rudi Vis, about the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which is making its way through Parliament:

Dear Dr Vis,

I am writing to you about the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which I understand is soon to be debated in the House of Commons.

Please will you consider voting against the proposals on additional embryo research and for any amendment that would lead to the reduction in the abortion limit?

The Bill raises some serious ethical issues and I find some of its aspects very disturbing.

Researchers should not be allowed to work only on the basis of what is possible in the laboratory without regard to ethical principles. The unique dignity of human life should not be undermined by allowing the production of human/animal embryos for the extraction of stem cells. This is especially the case now that scientists are discovering the potential of adult stem cells, culled from human skin. See, for example, Money should be invested in developing the benefits of this kind of research rather than in ethically questionable work on embryonic hybrids.

I am also very concerned about the proposals in the Bill regarding therapeutic cloning and reproductive cloning. These also represent a serious attack on the value of human life.

Regarding abortion, I find it incomprehensible that this country is not horrified that there are now some 200,000 abortions occurring every year. The Bill will give an opportunity for MPs to table an amendment reducing the abortion limit from the current 24 weeks. In specialised neonatal units, up to 82% of babies born prematurely at 24 weeks now survive. Added to this is a new appreciation of foetal sensitivity to pain.

The Christian Institute has a helpful set of resources on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill: