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Wednesday, 26 March 2008


While I, along with most decent people, try to respect an individual's religious faith, I find it impossible to accept the shanigins of the Roman Catholic Church on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill currently going through the House of Commons. Cardinal Keith O'Brien, seemingly the leading man in a frock on this matter, has called the proposed legislation a "monstrous attack on human rights, human dignity and human life." Having been caught out on the adoption agencies legislation, the Catholic Church is really going for the Embryology Bill.

As well as the obvious question - what celibate men in frocks know about this issue - the pressure coming from the Catholic Church is directly opposed to basic human rights. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is designed to bring existing laws on fertility treatment and embryo research into line with scientific advances. It will allow procedures which may save lives and improve conditions for those who are sick. According to the Medical Research Council, the Royal Society, the Wellcome Trust and the Academy of Medical Sciences, "This research has massive potential to provide treatments for serious debilitating disorders ranging from developmental abnormalities in young children, to stroke, cancer, HIV/Aids, diabetes and Parkinson's disease, as well as better and safer treatment for infertile couples."

Nevertheless, the men in frocks think diktats created over 2000 years ago are more important than life on this earth in the here and now. Sadly, three Cabinet members seem to agree with them. Paul Murphy, Des Browne and Ruth Kelly have almost certainly been responsible for persuading Gordon Brown to come up with his recently announced compromise. Labour MPs will now have a free vote on the most controversial parts of the Bill - preventing fertility clinics from refusing treatment to single women and lesbians, creating a child with the correct tissue match to save a sick brother or sister and creating so-called hybrid animal/human embryos to aid stem cell research.

Why on earth should matters to do with reproduction and sexuality be questions of "conscience" and thus allowed a free vote in Parliament while going to war and raising taxes (to name but two) are subject to the most rigorous party discipline? There has never been an adequate answer to this, save perhaps the unspoken thought that since it is women who are more affected, it is somehow all right to ride roughshod over their (our) human rights.

1 comment:

Nick said...

"the men in frocks think diktats created over 2000 years ago are more important than life on this earth in the here and now."

I find these words deeply offensive and request an apologu from Ms Honeyball.

Zdzislaw Brzezniak