In what one pro-life leader called a “deadly day in the history of Britain,” the House of Commons on Wednesday approved legislation allowing scientists to create animal-human hybrids for medical research. The bill also allows the creation of “savior siblings” genetically matched to sick siblings and eases access to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) for lesbians and single women by eliminating requirements for clinics to consider a child’s need for a father.
The Human Embryology and Fertilization Bill passed by 355 votes to 129, Agence France Presse reports. The bill now heads to the House of Lords and could become law by November.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown backed the measure citing its potential to help future generations. Brown’s son has cystic fibrosis, a disease which could reportedly benefit from future embryo research.
Sixteen MPs from Brown’s Labor Party, including the Catholic former minister Ruth Kelly, voted against the bill.
Nadine Dorries, a member of the Conservative Party, argued that loopholes in the bill could allow scientists to attempt crossbreeding between humans and animals.
"Of all the experimental possibilities debated in the course of this bill, surely none is quite so utterly repulsive as the possibility of seeking to inseminate animals with human sperm," she said, the AFP reports.
All sides complained that the government had blocked a discussion on reforming the abortion laws. According to SIR, the vote rejected a law that authorizes abortion in Northern Ireland.
John Smeaton, director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, responded to the passage of the full bill.
“Today is a deadly day in the history of Britain.” he told SIR. “Parliament approved a law that extends the lethal abuse of the more vulnerable members of our society. The future generations will read this macabre law and will wonder how a nation that should be civil may have debased human life so much.”
“Our only consolation is that thousands of people all over the country have joined their efforts in sympathy with the unborn children,” he added, stating that leaders such as Cardinal Keith O’Brien and Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue “have shown that taking strong, clear, brave positions may put the holiness of human life at the head of the public debate. Very many doctors, lawyers and academicians have defended the weakest of the weak.”