Anti-life MPs "should stand down"
22 May 2008
MPs who vote in an anti-life way should not continue in parliament, according to a Catholic church spokesman. Mr Peter Jennings of the Birmingham archdiocese, England, was commenting in the light of the recent House of Commons initial committee stage of the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. All religious believers should bear this week's votes in mind at the next election, he suggested. [Telegraph, 21 May] The leader of Catholics in England and Wales has said that there will be disappointment at MPs' decision not to reduce the upper limit for abortion on non-disabled babies. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, said the matter would not go away and that many thought 200,000 abortions a year was excessive. The Christian Medical Fellowship said MPs had ignored public opinion. [Times, 21 May] Mrs Nadine Dorries MP, who proposed one of the cuts to the limit, also said that her colleagues were out of touch with popular feeling. [Bedford Today, 21 May]
Rt Rev David James, Anglican Bishop of Bradford, West Yorkshire, lamented the outcome on the time limit, saying that his grand-daughter had been born before 24 weeks. Rt Rev Arthur Roche, Catholic bishop of nearby Leeds, said: "[A] society which does not protect the weakest within it is a society that is breaking down." [Telegraph and Argus, 21 May] The Guardian points out that more than four fifths of Conservative MPs supported a reduction to 22 weeks while a similar proportion of Labour members opposed it. [Guardian, 22 May] A senior Conservative says his party could revive the issue though a private bill in the next parliament. Mr John Redwood MP advised, however, that the predominant view of the new Commons would need to be prudently gauged beforehand. [Independent, 22 May]
The Church of England has condemned the omission of the need for a father from requirements for IVF. A statement says: "[W]e now have a situation where the perceived 'right' to have a child trumps the right for a child to be given the best possible start in life." [BBC, 21 May] Welcoming the decision, Lord Winston, director of a fertility clinic, says lesbian couples make good parents and implies support for older single women having IVF children. [Telegraph, 22 May] After the rejection of a ban on hybrid embryos, Professor Justin St John of Warwick University said: "This is vital research and, although we are a long way from finding cures, it is important to investigate some of the genetic and underlying causes of such terrible diseases." [Coventry Telegraph, 21 May]
A Muslim pharmacist in north-west England reportedly refused to supply morning-after pills on conscientious grounds. J Sainsbury plc, owner of the dispensary, said staff with moral objections should refer customers to another pharmacist and/or say where the drugs were available. [Manchester Evening News, 22 May] Some practitioners who will not give out morning-after pills because of their possible abortifacient nature may also object to helping people get them because they would be complicit in an unethical act.
Mr Edward Kennedy, who has recently been found to have a brain tumour, has been urged to repent of his support for abortion and embryo research. Pro-Life Action League are praying for the senior Massachusetts senator (as are Human Life International and the Pro-life Religious Council) and say a public recantation would help other Catholics. In 1971 he was anti-abortion. [LifeSiteNews, 21 May]