London, 19 January 2012: A leading pro-life group has described as "macabre and unethical" a so-called 'three-parent' embryo technique which is due to receive £5.8 million of funding.
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) www.spuc.org.uk was responding to the announcement by the Wellcome Trust that embryo research into mitochondrial disease will start at its new centre at Newcastle University. At the same time the government has launched a public consultation on whether to pass legislation to allow the 'three-parent' embryo technique to be used for medical treatment. (See Wellcome Trust release http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/News/Media-office/Press-releases/2012/WTVM054145.htm )
Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, commented: "These macabre experiments are both destructive and dangerous and therefore unethical. The vast majority of embryonic children created in the laboratory are killed because they do not meet the 'quality control' requirements dictated by scientists involved in such increasingly macabre experiments.
"It doesn't matter how an embryonic child is created, he or she is still an innocent member of the human family and therefore has the right to life.
“Scientists should abandon the spurious field of destructive embryo experimentation and instead promote the ethical alternative of adult stem cell research, which is already providing cures and treatments for the same conditions", concluded Mr Ozimic.
John Smeaton, SPUC director, commented: “As with IVF and cloning, this mitochondrial technique may well lead to the developmental abnormalities. Creating embryonic children in the laboratory abuses them, by subjecting them to unnatural processes.
"Human life begins at conception. Any grounds for denying human rights to human embryos are arbitrary and self-serving.
"Scientists should respect human life and pursue ethical alternatives which are much more likely to be successful in the long term", concluded Mr Smeaton.
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