Leading British MP Backs Down From Pro-Human Cloning Bill Before Vote

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 12, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Leading British MP Backs Down From Pro-Human Cloning Bill Before Vote

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 12
, 2008

London, England (LifeNews.com) — The leading British MP who is pushing for Parliament to adopt a bill that would promote human cloning and the creation of hybrids is backing down slightly in advance of the debate and vote on the bill. Lord Winston now appears to admit the human cloning bill isn’t needed to advance science.

Across Britain, pro-life advocates are pulling out all the stops to head off the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act when it comes up for a second reading debate in the House of Commons.

While scientists say human cloning is necessary to find cures for diseases, pro-life advocates say adult stem cell research is already successful and that destroying human life to advance science is unethical.

According to a Monday London Telegraph report, Winston said he wouldn’t be too disappointed if the bill failed and he admitted the measure is unnecessary to promote the search for cures for diseases.

"If the hybrid embryo thing doesn’t go through, it in no way shakes the body of science. It’s not about embryos that can survive, or viable monsters. Nothing like that," he said.

"It’s a nice adjunct; a useful extra. But if we don’t have that resource, it won’t fundamentally alter the science of stem cell biology," he told the newspaper.

Winston also told the Telegraph that he, too, has problems with the creation of so-called "saviour siblings" — unborn children created as a genetic match specifically so they can be killed later to provide cells or body parts for an older, sick child.

He said, after birth, such children would be pressured to donate their organs.

Jim Dobbin, Labour chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, told the newspaper he was excited to hear of Winston’s reservations.

"It is good to hear his concerns stated so explicitly," he said, adding that Winston should have made his views clear before. "I know he has had his doubts about saviour siblings and hybrid embryos, but he should have spoken out much more clearly in the past."

The newspaper took a poll and found that the bill will likely pass and that efforts to scale back late-term abortions from 24 weeks to 20 weeks will likely fail.