British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Defends Bill Allowing Human Cloning

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 19, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Defends Bill Allowing Human Cloning

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 19
, 2008

London, England ( — British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has passionately defended a bill that allows both human cloning and the creation of hybrids that combine human and animal DNA. Pro-life and religious groups and other MPs have criticized the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill saying it’s unethical.

Scientists hope to use the clones and hybrids as a ready-made supply of stem cells for experiments and the bill also allows "savior siblings" — children created for the express purpose of donating genetic material to a sick brother or sister.

The bill gives researchers the ability to cross the cloning threshold in order to search for potential cures for diseases.

That Machiavellian approach is good enough to get Brown’s support.

In an editorial Brown wrote that appeared in the London Observer, he said he strongly supports the bill and urged other MPs to do the same.

"I believe that we owe it to ourselves and future generations to introduce these measures and in particular to give our unequivocal backing, within the right framework of rules and standards, to stem cell research," he wrote.

"The question for me is not whether they (hybrid embryos) should exist, but how their use should be controlled," he added.

Conservative leader David Cameron also supports some of the objectionable parts of the cloning bill, including allowing the creation of hybrids and savior siblings.

"My own approach to this is the law needs updating and the importance of science and research and getting to grips with genetic disease … I want to see the research go forward," he said, according to a Halifax Today report.

Cameron also believes the late-term abortion time limit should be dropped from 24 to 20 weeks and will vote for that. Brown opposes reducing late-term abortions.

Parliament is debating the bill and amendments to it on Monday and Tuesday and members of the various parties have been given a free vote.