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SPUC opposes bioethics commission

24 March 2005

SPUC opposes bioethics commission Westminster, 24 March 2005 - The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) is opposing the establishment of a national bioethics commission. John Smeaton, SPUC's national director, said: "SPUC strongly opposes Cardinal Murphy O'Connor's call to the government and parliament to set up a national bioethics commission. "The government and parliament are strongly anti-life and any such commission is likely to have a substantial anti-life majority. Furthermore, such a commission's anti-life recommendations will have all the more authority because its establishment will have come about, in part, as a result of an appeal made by a Roman Catholic leader. "Past experience of national committees in Britain, however august they may be, is that they do not lead to greater parliamentary scrutiny and government accountability. On the contrary, a bioethics commission will prove to be the graveyard of pro-life ethical concerns. Because of the power of the executive under the British constitution, national committees on bioethical issues are used to sideline pro-life concerns and to stifle democratic debate rather than foster it. "It is notable that those countries with bioethics commissions in which opinions protective of human life have been expressed, are those countries where either Christians (Ireland, Italy, America) or historical fears of eugenics (Germany) have influenced the bioethical debate at the political and scientific level. Britain, whose political and scientific establishment is dominated by the culture of death, is not one of those countries, and we can therefore expect a British bioethics commission to make anti-life recommendations. "What the church and the pro-life movement need to do is to step up the challenge to, and the formation of, individual MPs and parliamentary candidates on life issues. We need to ensure that the House of Commons, the principal debating and legislative chamber of the nation, reflects the public's concern that the sanctity of human life be respected. "If lethal experiments were being carried out on Anglicans, Catholics and Jews, would it be appropriate for religious leaders to call for a commission to discuss the matter?"

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