By Hilary White
LONDON, November 23, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Labour party will break with tradition and force MP’s to vote in favour of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill. MP’s with moral or religious objections to the legislation will be forced to vote against their conscience on legislation that will deny some children conceived artificially the right to a natural family with a father.
The Daily Telegraph reports that it is “growing backbench unease” with some of the provisions of the bill that has caused the Labour party to crack down.
The bill proposes to remove the requirement of fertility clinics to consider the “need for a father” before providing artificial procreation treatments. It also states that lesbian “partners” may both be named on birth certificates as legal parents. Under the new law, homosexual partners would be able to demand treatments to produce a child as a “right.” Two men will be able to apply for the legal status of parents of a child carried by a surrogate.
In addition, the bill proposes to ratify a host of anti-life decisions made over the years by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), widely seen as the most permissive government regulatory agency in the world. In the last ten years, the HFEA has granted permissions on a case by case basis for the creation of human embryos for research, human/animal hybrid clones and genetically matched “saviour sibling” children to be used for their tissues.
The head of the Catholic bishops of England, Cormac Cardinal Murphy O’Connor wrote a letter to the Times that agreed with pro-life opponents of IVF who say that such procedures reduce the status of children to that of a commodity that may be produced on demand. The Cardinal wrote that the bill “radically undermines the place of the father in a child’s life, and makes the natural rights of the child subordinate to the desires of the couple. It is profoundly wrong.”
Scotland’s two leading churchmen, Catholic Archbishops Cardinal Keith O’Brien and Archbishop Mario Conti, have released a statement saying they are “appalled” by the bill and called the HFEA “completely inadequate” to deal with ethical issues.
The statement says, “We are frankly appalled at proposals which would allow the creation of organisms which cross the species barrier. We call on the government to think again about the role of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority which has proved completely inadequate in dealing with ethical issues. The bill includes disturbing developments in embryonic experimentation and breaks down the natural bonds of family life linked with procreation.”
But religious voices are not the only ones objecting to the bill’s provisions. Ruth Deech, who chaired the HFEA for over seven years, said in a speech that the proposal would “ignore the contribution made by half of the human race towards the upbringing of the next generation. It is important that this house should reaffirm the importance of parenting; both mothering and fathering.”
Shirley Williams, the Liberal Democrat leader of the House of Lords, said, “Research shows conclusively in fields such as education and educational achievement that a child who has a male model as well as a female model is likely to do considerably better than one who does not have that male model, because our society is made up of men and women.”
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children are urging pro-life supporters to contact the House of Lords and ask for the bill to be defeated. This week the bill was passed on to the next stage by the Lords without a vote.
In the meantime, religious groups and scientists are in agreement that a recent breakthrough in adult stem cell research may make such legislation obsolete even before it is passed. Two independent teams, one in Japan and the other in Wisconsin, have discovered a method of reverting adult skin cells to an embryo-like “pluripotent” state.
List and individual contact information of all Lords
Or, a member of the House of Lords may be contacted at:
The House of Lords,
Phone:020 7219 3000 (Main switchboard for Parliament)
Fax: 020 7219 5979
* please note that the Lords do not represent geographic constituencies
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Social Conservatives and Pro-life Groups Applaud Groundbreaking Stem Cell Discovery
“Last Stand” for the Family on Homosexual Agenda within British Fertility Bill
Two Lesbians to be named as “Mothers” on Birth Certificates under UK Human Tissue and Embryo Bill
UK Reproductive Tech Bill Allows Much More Than Human/Animal Hybrids