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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Scientists should not decide which lives to end, says SPUC

2 October 2002

Scientists should not decide which lives to end, says SPUC London, 2 October 2002--The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has reacted critically to a report on ethical standards for the genetic screening and destruction of human embryos. The report, Genetics and human behaviour: the ethical context was issued by the Nuffield Council of Bioethics. SPUC general secretary Paul Tully commented: "Although the Nuffield Council of Bioethics' report on Genetics and Human Behaviour seems to come down against selecting or destroying human embryos for their genetic traits, the report denies the biological reality of early human life. Its effect is to undermine the protection of human life. "The report says that the screening of early human embryos outside the womb, 'is, in effect, used to choose which life to start'. The reality is clearly different. Embryos whose lives have already begun are tested. Those who "pass" get transferred to the womb. Those who "fail" get flushed down the sink. A human embryo is fully human from the moment of his or her conception." Mr Tully continued: "The report also says that abortion on 'social' grounds such as gender or predicted intelligence or behaviour is ethically and morally wrong, yet the report explicitly says that it 'set[s] aside the contested issue of the ethics of abortion on social grounds'. This totally illogical position ignores the fact that fatal discrimination through eugenic abortion is already widely practised against those considered less than "perfect" or socially unacceptable because they are unwanted. "Also, the report's approval of research into possible genetic to behavioural traits plays into the hands of those who would misuse such information", added Mr Tully. "Such muddled ethical thinking shows society's desperate need for the re-establishment of the sound ethical view of the right to life of the unborn child from the time of his or her fertilisation", concluded Mr Tully.

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