Just when I was thinking that the Government was trying
to make acting according to one's conscience illegal
(consider for example, adoption agencies banned from
considering only man and wife as suitable parents),
Gordon Brown reluctantly gives in and allows his MPs
to vote on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill
as dictated by their instincts and feelings.
Brown's MPs will be allowed a free vote only on three
aspects of the Bill: human/animal hybrid embryos; IVF
treatment allowed in cases that would deny the potential
child or children their right to a father; creation
of so-called 'saviour siblings'.
They will not be allowed a free vote on the screening
of embryos to identify genetic diseases or on both members
of lesbian couples being able to register as parents
on birth certificates.
No free vote in reality
With or without amendments to any of the proposals,
all Labour MPs will be ordered to support the Bill in
the final vote at the end of the third reading and any
minister who votes against the Bill at that stage would
be expected to resign.
Ministers and other MPs who still have serious concerns
might be allowed to abstain from the final vote, but
only if the passage of the Bill is not threatened.
More than 200 charities, including Cancer Research
UK, the British Heart Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy
Campaign and the Parkinson's Disease Society have written
to MPs urging them to support new laws that would allow
the creation of part-human, part-animal embryos. If
you are against the idea and give money to any of these
charities, you might want to find out if your favourite
is gunning for the production of Frankenstein foetuses
and families created to be deliberately without fathers.
Why are these various ideas contained in the same Bill
anyway? Is the lesbian issue included to try and gain
more acceptance for the rest of the Bill by making MPs
fearful of appearing to be discriminatory?
According to the Christian
Institute, "after a decade of embryonic stem
cell research no medical treatments have been developed.
By contrast, over 70 treatments have come from research
using adult stem cells."
Not religion vs science
The debate is not religious versus scientific as many
boffins would have us believe; some
scientists are also concerned. Last year Sir Liam
Donaldson, the chief medical officer, told a parliamentary
committee set up to evaluate the legislation:
"On the question of full-blown hybrids being created
between animal gametes and human gametes, there was
a degree of repugnance, even among scientists...It was
felt - and I think is still felt - that this would be
something where there was no clear scientific benefit
and, secondly, a feeling that this would be a step too
far as far as the public is concerned."
It is constantly suggested to us that we live in a
'democracy', but if an MP is outraged by this Bill and
the majority of his or her constituents are opposed
to it as well, towards the end of the Parliamentary
process, the MP is still expected to betray constituents
and sell his soul to the Party.
I call that fascism, not democracy.
This whole debacle sheds a fair bit of light on how
modern politics operates, on the illusion of our 'democracy'
and on how people with vested interests, including many
charities, would rather devalue humanity with human/animal
hybrids and deprive children of fathers and in some
cases, life itself, by supporting this Bill, than by
looking at the viable alternatives such as adult
stem cell research which has already brought benefits
without these new moral dilemmas.
Dilemmas for some, clear-cut moral boundaries for others.