Wednesday, 26 March 2008

The HFE Bill

The picture you are looking at is a human embryo. What is this thing? Is it a cell? Is it a fried egg as my 3 year old niece thought? Or is it something worth looking after?
Lord David Alton said back in the 1990's:
'The embryo is not merely a potential human being, but a human being with potential'.
Lord Alton is well known for his personal convictions and courage in terms of his political goals. He resigned from the Liberal Democrats because of their decision to make Abortion party policy, whilst on the same day voting to protect Gold Fish in fair grounds.
It's worth considering what Alton says. Not simply because for most of you reading this, it's what you agree with, however it sums up easily what is now a scientific reality; it is an empirical fact that the embryo is a human being with potential.
Dr Jerome Lejeune, the world renowned biologist who discovered the extra chromosome for those who have downsyndrome, wrote an excellent piece a while ago. You can find that here:
'To accept the fact that, after fertilization has taken place, a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or of opinion. The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical contention. It is plain experimental evidence.'

What we are dealing with is human life. That's why people are upset at the HFE Bill; it's not because we are anti scientific, no, far from it. It's because we don't believe that you can treat man simply as a means to an end, but rather always as an end in himself.

We know that the human embryo may contain the key to so many diseases, even though some of the coverage by some newspapers and news channells have made outlandish claims putting disabled children on the camera whilst mothers are saying we don't have time, we need this research for our children. It's a well known fact that this research won't produce results in terms of cures for at least 50 years. Even on the stem cell debate, there is not one single cure from embryonic stem cells, despite 80% of all stem cell funding going towards this, whereas adult stem cells have produced over 65 cures.

There are alternatives, Dr Shinya Yamanaka for example who has found a way to use adult skin cells and manipulate these so they become like an embryo, and thus bear all the potential as any embryo would. The good thing is you don't need to use a real embryo, and you don't need to destroy human life.

Like it or not, you were once an embryo. That was when for you the clock started ticking. From a biblical point of view we can defend the embryo through the visitation. You will recall how the baby lept inside Elizabeth's womb, when Mary came to visit. John the foetus recognised Jesus the embryo at that moment. Mary wasn't just carrying divine cells, no she was carrying a person, the Son of Man.

Let's pray for those politicians who have to now decide how to vote. Write to them, go into their office and speak to them. Write to newspapers, and E-Mail the news stations. Let them know how you feel. Gordon Brown's concession yesterday whilst not all that we asked for was a pretty huge achievement on behalf of the Church and on behalf of all the pressure from the pro-life movement. All this is by the grace of God. Let's now stand up and be heard and remember that in saying No, we are saying Yes to God and Yes to the sanctity and dignity of human life.

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