Human Exceptionalism

Huge Political Row Over Legalizing Brave New Britain

The British Government is finding the road to passage of its new Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill extremely controversial. One would hope so. Consider some of its provisions as described by the Telegraph:

Hybrid embryos: The Bill permits the creation of hybrid or “chimera” embryos, where human DNA is inserted into an animal cell for research. Implanting them into a woman or animal will be forbidden and embryos must be discarded after use. Pro-life campaigners and Catholic leaders are bitterly opposed.

Embryo screening: Embryos created in fertility treatment can be screened for certain genetic diseases but parents will not be allowed to choose embryos that will develop an abnormality, a clause that has angered deaf parents who want a deaf child. Sex selection is also banned, except to avoid serious gender-related disabilities.

‘Spare parts’ babies: Embryos can be tested for compatibility with that of a child suffering from a serious medical condition then implanted into a woman. Stem cells from a new child’s umbilical cord, bone marrow or “other tissue”, but not a whole organ, could then be used to treat the sibling.

The bill also might reduce the time within which an abortion can be obtained and formally allows for gay/lesbian families.

Yup. It’s going to be a hot time in Jolly Olde England. Party discipline is cracking and there is great demand for a free vote. The outcome, is thus, uncertain. But I am betting it passes. They (that is, I) don’t call it Brave New Britain for nothing.

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