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Defeat in Lords on Embryo Bill

Printer-friendly version Amendments we supported have been defeated in the Lords, but it is not over yet as we can still make a difference when the Bill is handed over to the House of Commons. In the days to come we will provide information on how to lobby on this Bill at th


Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill: Defeat in Lords

Amendments we supported have been defeated in the Lords, but it is not over yet as we can still make a difference when the Bill is handed over to the House of Commons. In the days to come we will provide information on how to lobby on this Bill at the House of Commons stage.

The Lords have decided to:

  • legalise the creation of animal-human hybrid embryos

  • remove the ‘need for a father’ in IVF treatment

  • permit embryos to be selected to become ‘saviour siblings’ and the remaining embryos to be discarded

In addition, sections within the Bill have been liberalised by amendments put down by the Government. Animal-human hybrid embryos have been renamed ‘human-admixed embryos’ by a Government amendment. This new name does not convey the true genetic make-up of the embryo – that they are animal and human. The need for a father for children conceived through IVF has been removed and a Government amendment has replaced this with the requirement that these children have ‘supportive parents’. An amendment for children conceived through IVF to be supported by a father and a mother was rejected 164 votes to 93. To view how Peers voted on this amendment please click here and scroll down to Division No. 3 In effect this further facilitates the use of IVF by same sex couples and undermines the role of fathers.

The Lords have permitted the creation and selection of embryos to provide a ‘saviour sibling’ for an existing sick child. This practice involves destroying healthy embryos because they do not match the tissue type of an existing child in the family, and implanting a matching embryo (if there is one) in order to create a child who can provide healthy spare part tissue for the existing child. Before embryos can be screened in this way it must be shown that the existing sibling suffers from a ‘serious’ condition. Amendments were laid to define ‘serious’ or replace it with ‘serious and potentially life threatening’, which would have provided a higher threshold, but these amendments were rejected. To view how Peers voted on these amendments, please use the links below.

Links to how Peers voted on ‘saviour siblings’

Lord Patel laid amendments to the Bill which would allow scientists to use donated human cells in order to create cloned embryos and animal-human embryos, without the consent of the donor. This amendment would mean clones or hybrids of the donor could be created without their knowledge or consent. Lord Patel withdrew his amendment after the Government stated they would have to look at whether it was compatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to family and private life. It would seem the Government is concerned that creating embryos by using cells without the person’s knowledge or consent violates this right. The Government indicated they would look at the amendments and report back at Third Reading.

Please pray the Government will continue to resist Lord Patel’s amendments.

Link to the Lords Debate 21st January 2008

Opposition Letter in Times and other media coverage

A letter constructed by Dr Evan Harris MP, signed by 29 biomedical scientists and administrators, including three winners of the Nobel Prize was published by The Times on 21st January 2008. The letter objected to the protection given to human cells which have been donated by anonymous donors from being used to create embryos. This is a very powerful method to use the voice of the scientific community in this way and to make it seem that there is no real opposition to this science. It is important that scientists and medics who do not agree with this agenda speak out by writing to the Times, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and other professional medical bodies.

Links to media coverage

Call to Prayer

PLEASE PRAY - we are living in a time where the moral and ethical boundaries our nation once adhered to, and took for granted, are being wholly rejected. As Christians it is our responsibility to speak up for truth and justice. The embryo ought to be accorded special status in our law, Psalm 8 Society is defined by its treatment of the most vulnerable - the embryo cannot defend itself and so we must be the voice of the voiceless.

There is the launch of the Global Day of Prayer at Westminster Chapel this Friday 25 January at 7pm, please see the link below for details.


Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill

This Bill received its second reading in the House of Lords yesterday 22 January 2008. The Bill introduces a new offence of incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. It is also expected that the Government will introduce amendments to the Bill to try and abolish the offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel.

No votes will take place on this date, but please continue to pray about this Bill.

Islam Conference: Book now

There are now less than 10 places left at our Islam conference next Monday, so book your place now to avoid disappointment. The conference takes place on Monday 28th January in central London. Use the link below for more information on the conference and how to book a place.