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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Pro life campaigners call for nationwide lobby of MPs against embryo bill

4 February 2008

Pro-life campaigners call for nationwide lobby of MPs against embryo bill London, 4th February 2008 - The House of Lords approved the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill this evening without accepting any substantial restraining amendments. The Lords failed to divide on the bill, giving it an unopposed third reading. The bill will now go to the House of Commons. Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), said: "The government is clearly intent on pushing the bill through - and making it worse in the process. We will be campaigning across the country to expose the evils it contains. We will be urging people to lobby their Members of Parliament intensively against the degradation of embryonic human beings contained in the bill and the degrading processes of so-called therapeutic cloning and cross-species fertilisation that the bill aims to sanction." Notes An attempt by Baroness Williams of Crosby to ensure that embryos could only be used for research when there was no alternative was rejected. Pro-embryo research Peers said it was over-restrictive and impracticable. The clause would have required researchers to produce evidence that the research couldn't be done without using human embryos, and that the project was likely to produce an outcome. This was opposed by the government as well as peers involved in embryo research, and the House voted by 197 to 41 against the amendment. Following this defeat, critics of the bill failed to divide the House over the bill as a whole, allowing it an unopposed third reading. During the debate, Lord Jenkin of Roding, a former health minister, pointed to the lack of any moral framework behind the proposals - though not opposed to embryo research in principle himself. He said it was a "not to the credit of the House [of Lords]" that the bill, now at its final stage in the Lords, still lacked any underlying ethical principle. Lord Walton, a leading advocate of human embryo research, argued that scientists should be allowed to create cloned embryos without consent of the person being copied in some situations. He said that it would apply only retrospectively and where there was "no indication that the donor had any objection".

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