Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Brown authorizes "free vote" on embryo law

Threatened with a revolt from within his cabinet--particularly from his Roman Catholic ministers--UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced that he will permit his Labour ministers and MPs a "free vote" on three ethical aspects of a proposed new law governing fertility and embryo research. The three controversial provisions would permit the creation of human/animal hybrid embryos for research; permit embryos to be tested for compatibility with a child suffering a serious medical condition, in order to facilitate the creation of "saviour siblings" who might donate organs or blood to the ailing child; and instruct physicians, when determining whether a patient is a proper candidate for IVF, to consider the need of the child for "supportive parenting," rather than for "a father," as the law currently requires. The votes of conscience will be permitted only as the various provisions are read out of committee, for inclusion in the final draft legislation. When it comes time for a vote on the entire law, Labour MPs and ministers will be "whipped" into voting with their government, even if they opposed the inclusion of some or all of the controversial provisions. A Guardian article on Brown's decision appears here. Brown's letter to his MPs, announcing the "free vote," is here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It does make me wonder why we haven't had such a discussion in the US yet? Any thoughts?