Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

Lord Soley

I listened to Any Answers ( ) on my car radio this Saturday and was reminded of the strength of feeling on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. I am fairly confident that the majority of people are in favour of the Bill but now that several church leaders have waded in I suspect the argument will get more intense.

The Government won’t force people to vote for the measure if it is against their moral or religious convictions – governments rarely do. One of the listeners who phoned the BBC however, asked if those who chose to vote against because of the principle involved would also refuse any treatment that became possible as a result of experiments carried out in the way proposed in the Bill.

A good question I thought but not one the whips could use in Parliament! Perhaps one of our church leaders could answer it! I am strongly in favour of the Bill because it offers real hope to people suffering from some appalling medical conditions and I don’t believe this will open the door to experiments on human beings.

8 comments for “Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

  1. 23/03/2008 at 8:27 pm

    A slight side point but germane to this is particular piece of legislation…

    As an atheist, if I found that my MP voted on any issue from the point of view of their religious conscience, I’d be outraged.

    I would not hesitate to vote against them at any further election.

  2. minidvr
    24/03/2008 at 8:01 pm

    I believe that this bill is morally indefensible. Not on religious grounds, rather on the the ethical grounds that it attacks nature and changes it in ways that we cannot know or predict.

    I believe that human nature is the start and end of things, and that to manipulate any part of the human being in the pursuit of so called science and progress is inherently wrong.

    Strong cases are being made for and against this legislation by both sides, most of which ignore the fact that nature creates, nature gives and nature takes away.

    If the cause of a disease or disability is natural, we need to accept it and live (or dies) with or because of it.

    This is an extension of the human decision to terminate life created naturally by abortion. Where man has set himself up to decide whether a human being unable to decide for themselves, should live or die.

    This legislation appears to continue on the track of man trying to change nature for its own purposes, rather than through natural evolution.

    Science is part of the the future, but we need to take nature and the environment into account when we make any decisions. Man’s actions are destroying the environment that we depend on for our existence, and that is where science should be concentrating its efforts to develop a just and sustainable eco-system that means that we can live in partnership with the environment and at peace with ourselves.

    The public debate will no doubt continue and members of parliament will make their own decisions, hopefully after a free vote. But will have to live with their decisions afterwards as will we all.

  3. CommonSenseAlliance
    24/03/2008 at 9:41 pm

    The reason why the church opposes this bill is because it considers embryos to be human life in the same way as you are an example of human life. Believe me, it would be as concerned if medical experts were attempting to graft animal matter onto you as it is when the subject is a child in embryo. I think that the main debate is similar to the one over abortion. If you replace the word embryo with the word child, it is easy to understand why the Church opposes this bill.

    “Among its many clauses, the bill would allow scientists to create hybrid human-animal ‘children’ for research.”

    you can see where the objection is there!

    finally, your comment quoted from the radio- I doubt anyone would reject medical treatment, however that does not justify using immoral means to do research. The main reason why embryology researchers want to use animals is because there is a shortage of human donors. I don’t agree with any sort of research involving artificially creating and then destroying human life, but surely it is possible to continue using human embryos to research on at a slower rate, rather than by using animals to create ‘hybrid children’ a thought which is quite frankly appalling. A number of family members have suffered from the diseases above, and I would not wish them any more suffering, but I don’t believe that ending lives to save lives is a valid policy. Opening the door to this sort of research is appalling, and the church has every right-and indeed a responsibility-to oppose it.

  4. Stuart
    24/03/2008 at 10:25 pm

    In terms of how much peers are lobbied by individuals (as opposed to lobbying by organisations, companies, etc), is there a lot on issues like this, and is much of it, you suspect, orchestrated? I’m just curious.

  5. Bedd Gelert
    25/03/2008 at 11:36 am

    Brennig – this rather assumes that you will find an alternative who shares your views. Whilst this might be possible in the case of Nick Clegg MP, even he recognises the rights of others [such as his wife] to have a conscience on religious matters.

  6. 25/03/2008 at 8:01 pm

    Bedd Gelert – Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not against religious views, nor am I intolerant towards them in any way.

    However, consider an elected person making any legislative decision based on his membership of The Moonies or some other cult instead of listening to what the electorate is saying… Is this acceptable?



  7. Bedd Gelert
    26/03/2008 at 5:34 pm

    Brennig – this is indeed a fair point. But I guess my view is that it is very difficult to extricate what are one’s personal religious, moral and ethical views when voting ‘on behalf’ of the electorate, and what are purely political views.

    This may be unfair, as Mitt Romney promised that his Mormon faith would not impinge upon the decisions he made as President. But the electorate appeared not to be reassured by it. But I guess the Lords aren’t beholden to the electorate in quite the same way, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

  8. 11/05/2008 at 3:18 pm

    I just joined in wordpress and I presented my thoughts on this issue (in my blog). I am also up for this bill. But I really doubt it will pass through, mainly because majority of the public hated the idea.

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