Friday, May 16, 2008

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill: letter

This might be avery useful resource for sending to you MP, remember the vote next week:

Sir, We are convinced that stem-cell research is a highly promising area of science offering potential for new methods of treating many serious diseases. We welcome legal acceptance, public and private funding, and international co-operation for a range of stem-cell research.
But we also wish to caution against false optimism and unrealistic claims for as yet unproven avenues of research. It is irresponsible, unjustified and, especially, unfair to patients for researchers to claim without evidence that a refusal to fund, to license or to approve a particular research approach will “delay treatments for incurable illnesses”.

In particular, given the current state of more conventional embryonic stem-cell research, of adult stem-cell research, and of induced pluripotent stem-cell research, there is no demonstrable scientific or medical case for insisting on creating, without any clear scientific precedent, a wide spectrum of human-non-human hybrid entities or “human admixed embryos”.

We therefore question the scientific validity of proposals to create such embryonic combinations currently before the UK Parliament. We note with concern that, though not widely reported, the Bill does not just propose licensing so-called cybrids (99.9 per cent human, 0.1 per cent other species). It also proposes that embryos “created by using human gametes and animal gametes” (50 per cent human, 50 per cent other species) or human embryos “altered by the introduction of one or more animal cells” (ie, any percentage of human material) could be created under licence (UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill 2007-08, Section 4A(5) and Schedule 2. 3(3)).

All such proposals are highly speculative in comparison to established sources of human stem cells, and we remain unaware of any cogent evidence suggesting any might yield significant therapeutic dividend.

As scientists and clinicians actively involved in stem-cell research and regenerative medicine, we do not hold a single common view about the relative merits, ethics and potential of adult v (conventional) embryonic stem cells. But we all believe that extravagant claims regarding the purported merits of human-non-human interspecies embryos are mistaken and misleading, and that such research would damage public confidence and support, to the detriment both of the cause of stem-cell science and, ultimately, of patients.

Prof Neil Scolding, Bristol
Prof Michael Chopp, Detroit
Prof Dr Wolfgang M. Franz, Munich
Professor Alan Mackay-Sim, Queensland
Professor T. John Martin, Melbourne
Dr Rodney L. Rietze, Queensland
Prof Dennis McGonagle, Leeds
Prof Dr Bodo-Eckehard Strauer, Düsseldorf
Professor Gianni Angelini, Bristol
Dr Roger Barker, Cambridge
Dr Maureen L. Condic, Utah
Prof Dr Ursula Just, Kiel
Prof Dimitris Karussis, Jerusalem
Dr Letizia Mazzini, Piedmont
Dr Jean Peduzzi-Nelson, Detroit
Dr Carlos Lima, Lisbon

There is another letter in The Telegraph, with another long list of acaedemic names


bernadette said...

Good idea, Fr Blake. I was trying to think of other tactics for next week as well (legal, that is.)
1.Another might be for everyone to ask their priest to say a Mass for the defeat of this next week.
2.Fast from Monday evening into Tuesday evening. Fr Richard Aladics is putting on an overnight/next morning Eucharistic vigil at his parish. See his blog, "Friends with Christ"
3.Get together with others and say the Rosary.
4.Radio phone-ins may feature this next week. Pick up the phone and put the pro-life view. Tell it straight. Richard Marsden of the "Bashing Secularism" blog gives an account of how he did this for the first time recently. It could make a difference.
5.You know how people shove those "Happy 40th Birthday, Steve" signs on roundahouts and grass verges? make some which say " (banner one)Enough is enough.(two) Time to Expose the Real Weapon of Mass Destruction... (three)before it's too late. (four) NO to the HFE Bill.

We do not seems capable of Mass Movements for life in this country yet, so perhaps the answer is in local intiatives for the moment. The mass lobby of Parliament yesterday yielded between five and six hundred people.

JARay said...

To my surprise, the Upper House here in Western Australia threw out one simliar Bill to the one you are having pushed in your Parliament. The State Attorney General was the main mover of this Bill and he is an apostate Catholic who does everything he can to push forward legislation offensive to Catholics. The balance of power in the Upper House changed when Labor threw out one of their Senators over a sleaze matter and she is getting her own back on the Party.
God works in funny ways.
p.s. I think that Bernadette's ideas are good ones and should indeed be followed up.

Roses and Jessamine said...

This is from the Hear From Your MP website:

“So, the voting is over. The politicians vanish to Westminster, and everything carries on as before, right?”

Wrong. Between elections the internet is really starting to challenge politics as usual. As part of this change, we'd like to put you in touch with your MP. Not for a specific purpose, but in order to hear what they're working on, to debate their thoughts in a safe, friendly environment, and generally to build better, more useful relationships between constituents and their MPs. That's why we built HearFromYourMP.

What is HearFromYourMP?
HearFromYourMP is a site which allows you, the constituent, to sign up to get emails from your local MP about local issues. When your MP writes to you and other constituents, we give you the chance to discuss what has been said in a simple online forum.

Why should I sign up?
If you care about your local community, environment, businesses, roads, schools, parking arrangements, hedgehog tunnels, hop-scotch courts, or anything, HearFromYourMP is for you. HearFromYourMP is about building better, more constructive long term relationships between representatives and the people they represent."

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...