Monday, 21 January 2008

Cardinal argues for national bioethics commission

His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor argues today for a bioethics commission to be established by the Westminster Parliament. He writes:

"I hope that the House of Lords seizes this opportunity not just to frame laws for today but to plan for the future by establishing this new framework for ethical consideration. A national bio-ethics commission is long overdue. We need one for the sake of the common good."

But would a bioethics commission lead to a deeper concern for proposals relating to the sanctity of human life? Or would it lead to politicians hiding behind the learned discussions of the great and the good when challenged by constituents to vote against an anti-life bill? I can imagine MPs’ responses when challenged by pro-life constituents: “I will study the draft bill carefully – and the findings of the Bioethics Commission, which as you know includes representatives from the Catholic Church etc etc…”

However, leaving aside the merits or demerits of such a Commission, I will be worried if it gets into the Bill this evening. It could become an excuse for pro-life peers not to oppose the bill with the vigour and determination that its appalling proposals deserve. The setting up a Bioethics Commission will not outweigh the evil of a Bill which permits many new abuses of human beings. We must do everything in our power to urge Peers to oppose the Bill at third reading. Check out SPUC’s website for further information on the Bill. Write to me at if you want more information on what you can do about the Bill.