HFE Bill, Bishops, Frankenstein and medical charities

When boarding the plane to Helsinki, it was good to see front page coverage in the papers of various sermons made by Bishops concerning the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

In an excellent sermon at the Easter Vigil, Bishop O'Donoghue made the straightforward plea:
Please stop the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Stop exploiting embryonic human beings, and support adult stem cell research instead.
Cardinal O'Brien was equally forthright in his Easter Sunday sermon:
This bill represents a monstrous attack on human rights, human dignity and human life.
In a sort of "J-turn", Prime Minister Gordon Brown has now allowed a free vote on three "ethical aspects" of the HFE bill. However, they will still be required by the party whip to vote in favour of the Bill as a whole - which rather negates the right to vote according to conscience. essentially, he has admitted the injustice of his former position but not effective corrected it. The Telegraph has the text of Brown's letter to MPs in which he makes it clear that he will personally be voting in favour of all three measures.

Lord Winston has leapt in with unparliamentary language accusing the Bishops of lying (they are not) because they refuse to gloss over the ghastly ethical implications of this bill by using weasel terminology that makes it sound humane. Cardinal O'Brien is quite right to refer to experiments of "Frankenstein proportions"; the life of the very young is to be used in order to provide longevity for those who are older without regard to the sanctity of human life.

In the meantime, several medical research charities have given their unequivocal support to the bill. John Smeaton has a good article with the details: Let’s not support charities who refuse charity to the unborn.

Remember in all this that embryonic stem cell research has not yet produced any results whereas ethically acceptable adult stem cell research has led to many cures.

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