British Court Overturns Pro-Life Effort to Stop Designer Babies

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 29, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Court Overturns Pro-Life Effort to Stop Designer Babies Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 29, 2005

London, England ( — England’s highest court on Thursday ruled that the creation of so-called designer babies to help find cures for diseases is lawful, despite concerns about the destruction of unborn children to meet those goals.

The five Lord judges who decided the case ruled unanimously that tissue typing to create babies to help their siblings could be authorized by the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, Britain’s medical research agency.

HFEA is allowing a London clinic to screen embryos created by in vitro fertilization for genes that might lead to cancer.

Pro-life groups criticized the decision and say the agency is trying to play God by killing human embryos that have a cancer gene. Critics note that there is a possibility that these unborn children would never develop cancer if they were permitted to be born.

Josephine Quintavalle of the pro-life Comment on Reproductive Ethics, the group that brought the lawsuit, argued the creation of designer babies violated British law.

"We are not thinking about curing the disease, but about eliminating the carrier. It is pretty shoddy medicine," she said of the goals of the research.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has also been vocal in its opposition to so-called “designer babies.”

SPUC spokesman Paul Tully said in July, "The designer baby may be allowed his or her right to live, but that same right will be denied to his embryonic brothers and sisters. These unwanted embryonic siblings could be flushed down the sink, frozen or used for experiments.

"Although one should do everything that is ethical to relieve illness and pain, it cannot be right to destroy human life like this. This unethical procedure undermines any benefit which could come from it," Tully added.

Related web sites:
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children –