Monday 28 January 2008

Keeping things in perspective on the HFE bill

It’s reported that cabinet ministers, members of the all-party parliamentary pro-life group, and others are calling on Geoff Hoon MP, the Government’s chief whip, for a free vote on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

Of course it’s right that politicians should demand the freedom to vote according to their consciences, without being penalized by their party, on a bill which, if passed, will cost the lives of countless human beings. This is also a bill which, like the Abortion Act, will be copied in countries around the world.

However, pro-life lobbyists must not confuse the issues. Whatever their party leaders may threaten, politicians have a moral duty to vote against a bill which will:

  • extend the creation of embryonic children in the laboratory ('test-tube babies')
  • allow embryonic children to be abused and killed for a wider range of research purposes
  • permit the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos.

We must keep things in perspective. No punishment meted out by Gordon Brown on cabinet ministers or backbench politicians, however dreadful, absolves them of their moral responsibility to vote against such a bill.