British Pro-Life Catholic MPs May Continue Pressing for Free Vote on Cloning Bill

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 11, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Pro-Life Catholic MPs May Continue Pressing for Free Vote on Cloning Bill Email this article
Printer friendly page

RSS Newsfeed

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 11
, 2008

London, England ( — Several members of the British Parliament who are pro-life Catholics and object to a bill that would allow human-animal hybrid cloning may press for a free vote on the bill. The British Labour government has given them the opportunity to abstain from voting on the bill but that may not be good enough.

Chief Whip Geoff Hoon indicated the pro-life lawmakers who are members of the Labour Party are free to not vote on the bill. However, he said if they vote against it they risk losing their place in government.

That’s important because three British cabinet ministers, including Ruth Kelly, Des Browne and Paul Murphy, have voiced objections to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill.

None of the pr-life officials have said publicly what they will do about the tenuous situation.

But Greg Pope, Labour MP for Hyndburn, told the BBC that abstaining on the bill is not an option.

"I have had hundreds of letters from constituents about human-animal hybrids," he said.
"The idea that I turn round to them and say the Chief Whip has given me the day off from voting will cut no ice at all."

On the other side of the equation, Conservative Party leader David Cameron has given his MPs a free vote on the entire bill.

Helen Watt, director of the Linacre Centre, joined the rising chorus of pro-life advocates who have slammed the Labour Party for not allowing a conscience vote on the bill as it typically does on abortion issues.

"MPs of all parties should have the courage to vote against the bill, and in favor of amendments to remove its most destructive aspects," she told the BBC.

Meanwhile, a top British pro-life coalition, the Alive and Kicking campaign, plans to launch a new web site and is planning a thorough educational campaign to tell pro-life Britons how their MPs voted on the cloning bill and possible amendments to it to reduce late-term abortions.

"Members of the public will for the first time be able to look and see what their MP’s views are and how they have voted," the group told the London Daily Mail. "They can then bring pressure to bear. The aim is to make MPs’ individual voting records an issue, just as it is for American politicians."

The bill allows the creation of clones that are 99 percent human but also have animal DNA infused. Scientists want to clone and kill these chimeras to search for cures for diseases.

Related web sites:
Alive and Kicking campaign –