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Thursday, 25 September 2008


I recently received an email. The writers do not want their names published, as you will understand from reading it.

Dear Mary,

Thank you for taking such a strong line in helping families to have children. Ruth Kelly and those who share her views do not sadly understand how it is for those who struggle to conceive. The legislation going through Parliament is about enabling families to use all the medical advances to have children. We write with some experience, having tried for many years and invested considerable personal time, money and emotions. If your critics had experienced several miscarriages and the death of a child at birth I wonder if they would write with such dogmatic hard hearts?

We have had great support from friends and family. However, at our family church there are some who disapprove of the use of IVF. They hold that every egg that is fertilised should be re-implanted even if this means that medically the likelihood is that all the eggs will miscarry, or the mother faces serious threats including possible death. To allow this view to be imposed, is to us akin to allowing Jehovah's Witnesses to ban all blood transfusions.

It is fine for Jehovah's Witnesses to not allow blood transfusions for themselves, but they should not be allowed to impose this view on the rest of the population. Similarly if Catholics and other faith groups do not wish to take advantage of IVF that is their choice, but why should they be allowed to stop those of us who desperately wish for a child and have been bereaved?

Gordon Brown in his speech said in his speech at Manchester that "on the side of hard-working families is the only place I've ever wanted to be" and "We do it because fairness is in our DNA."

Can we ask you to lobby Gordon Brown ahead of his cabinet reshuffle to ensure that when he does the reshuffle he makes it clear to EVERY member of the Cabinet that they must support the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill when it comes before the House of Commons in the Autumn for its third reading. We want and need this legislation and yes we voted Labour.

Here is a chance for Gordon Brown to show that fairness is in his DNA and to support the many not the few. If people like Des Browne or Paul Murphy have strong consciences on these matters then they should exercise them honourably from the backbenches. Being members of a government is about providing leadership and working for the people ahead of your personal self interest. It is not a Woolworth's Pick'n'Mix.

One final thing we will continue to vote Labour. We have always worked for and financially supported International Development. The Labour government's doubling of the Aid budget and world leadership as attested by Bono and Bob Geldof in striving for millennium goals makes us very proud to be British. We also know from projects we have long supported that more children are alive in Africa today because we have had 11 years of Labour government.

When religious fundamentalists say they will not vote Labour again because of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill do they not recognise that under all the other parties more children in Africa will die because Aid will be cut? If life is sacred why do they not vote for the Party that has done more than any other organisation internationally in the last 10 years to save lives?

Please keep on campaigning so that families like us and millions more like us across the country have the chance to have children.

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