The British public has been misled in regard to the Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill, according to many Catholic Ministers of Parliament. The bill passed this week in the UK allowing admixed embryos, “savior siblings,” and the role of a father during fertility treatment.
The vote on Monday, which supporters of the bill won by 336 votes to 176, included six Catholic Ministers of Parliament (MPs) voting against Edward Leigh’s campaign to avoid using animal-human hybrids in embryonic research.
Ex-Tory minister Edward Leigh, who led the fight against the creation of hybrid “admixed” embryos, said they were “ethically wrong and almost certainly medically useless.”
He said there was “no evidence yet to substantiate” claims the work could help treat diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Catholic MPs were also upset because for the first two readings, they MPs were allowed to vote according to their consciences, but for the third reading, the ministers were pressed to vote with the government whip.
Senior Catholic MP Joe Benton has described the government’s move to allow a free vote in parliament only during the first and second readings on Monday and Tuesday as “hypocrisy.”
Mr. Benton, Labor MP for the town, Bootle, and secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group told The Universe: “I cannot express the depth of my disappointment that these are not recognized as what they are, namely moral, ethical issues of conscience.”
Mr. Benton added, “It is hypocritical. There were so-called free votes. There was a free vote on Monday and Tuesday at the committee stages but come the third reading, and we were expected to support the government.”
“My views are well known at Westminster. They certainly will not be looking to me for support,” he said.
“It is absolutely illogical and absurd and an insult to the intelligence not to allow a free vote in all stages of the Bill.”
Mr. Benton was joined in opposing the bill by Catholic cabinet ministers Ruth Kelly, Des Browne and Paul Murphy. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Tory leader David Cameron both voted to legalize the creation of human animal embryos.
Outside Westminster opposition was equally strong. Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien of Edinburgh described the Bill as an attempt to create “Frankensteinian monsters.”
Helen Watt, director at the Linacre Centre for medical ethics said the Bill’s progress was “all too predictable.” “Given the constant stream of misinformation: science and ethics have both been severely distorted by the Bill’s supporters,” she said.
“We get the Parliament we deserve, and should all give a top priority at the next election to these issues, looking less to party affiliation and more to the voting records of individual MPs,” Watt stated.
Story courtesy of The Universe in partnership with CNA.