EUROPE/GREAT BRITAIN - Catholic Church leaders issue statement on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill: "a dangerous and unnecessary precedent which does not respect the dignity of the human person."
Glasgow (Agenzia Fides) - Leading members of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, and Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow, who is also Chairman of the Joint Catholic Bioethics Committee of Britain and Ireland, issued a statement on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill prior to the House of Lords debate on Monday 19 November. The HFE - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill would legalise the creation of human-animal embryos.
The Bill, formerly the Human Tissue and Embryos Bill, updates the present regulation of assisted reproduction and research with embryos in the United Kingdom. If approved the Bill would allow among other things <- provisions to recognise same-sex couples as legal parents of children conceived through the use of donated sperm, eggs or embryos. retention of a duty to take account of "the welfare of the child" when providing fertility treatment, but removal of the reference to "the need for a father"; >
The Catholic leaders say "this is not a justifiable direction for legitimate scientific research. It is a dangerous and unnecessary precedent which does not respect the dignity of the human person", noting that such practices are banned in Canada, Australia and many European countries the practice has been ruled out by Canada, Australia and many European countries. They express concern that such proposals diminish the natural status of fathers and disturb the natural bonds between parents and children.
"We are frankly appalled at proposals which would allow the creation of organisms which cross the species barrier." said Archbishop Conti, who continues "The bill includes disturbing developments in embryonic experimentation and breaks down the natural bonds of family life linked with procreation.". The Catholic Church leaders call "on the government to think again about the role of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority which has proved completely inadequate in dealing with ethical issues" and stress the need for a " National Advisory Committee which is free of commercial research interests to give appropriate advice to Government on bioethical issues." (RG) (Agenzia Fides 21/11/2007; righe 23, parole 293)
see statement in English
"In Cordibus Jesu et Mariae"