Azara Blog: Catholic establishment does not like Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

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Date published: 2008/03/21

The BBC says:

The government faces a rebellion over embryo laws unless Gordon Brown allows a free vote, a Labour MP has warned.

Joe Benton, who is Catholic, said a "substantial number" of fellow Labour MPs were ready to defy the government.

It comes as the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland has urged Mr Brown to let MPs vote with their conscience on laws allowing human-animal embryos.

Downing Street has said a decision on whether to allow a free vote will be taken "in due course".

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is designed to bring the 1990 regulatory framework for fertility treatment and embryo research in line with scientific advances.

Among its many clauses, the bill would allow scientists to create hybrid human-animal embryos for research.

In his sermon to be delivered on Easter Sunday, but released on Good Friday, Cardinal O'Brien described the plans as "monstrous". He warned Mr Brown against imposing a three-line whip on Labour MPs - which orders them to vote with the party line.

Benton is saying "If you do 'A' I will vote against it or if you do 'not A' I will vote against". So he's just being silly. And O'Brien is even worse. He uses extremely inflammatory language but refuses to say what exactly is "monstrous" about the plans (other than that he doesn't like them because he doesn't like them). Of course Brown, being weak, might give in. It will be a sad day for Britain when a retrograde organisation like the Catholic Church can dictate public policy.

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