After the bitter disappointment of the various parties allowing MPs a free vote on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill amendments/updates it was genuinely gratifying yesterday to see all the handwringing, religious polemic and general misunderstanding about the ‘hybrid embryos’ parts of the bill put to rest with a resounding defeat of the attempt to ban their creation by 336 to 176.
Whilst I’m slightly more ambiguous about the ‘saviour siblings’ (a ban on creating them also heavily defeated) I see no real reason to deny people IVF for these kind of medical reasons if you’re going to allow IVF and embryo screening for other people. I’m just largely against IVF as a means of conception because I am not convinced that couples have any ‘right’ to have children in the first place.
These 2 results however give me great hope that the attempt to lower the abortion time limit from 24 to 20 weeks will also fail. This particular piece of attempted legislative stupidity (and actually the above 2 as well) flies in the face of all scientific thought, evidence and advice that has been offered.
It still disturbs me greatly that gut feelings, moral panic and general ignorance are allowed to stand against rigorous medical advice and evidence. I suspect those people who find these things unethical, unacceptable or morally repugnant still consider themselves to be ‘the moral majority’. I wonder how they feel on days like this when the people they elected to represent them vote in these kind of numbers, and clearly demonstrate that, for now, the moral majority is in favour of allowing science, research and medical breakthroughs to continue.