Wednesday, March 26, 2008

House of Commons Free Vote on Embryology

Just a quick link to Lou's Blog where there is plenty of information about the decision of the Government to allow a free vote on several aspects of the embryology and human fertilisation bill. DoH site for the Bill here.

I think that the Bill has been very widely debated and scrutinised, including extensive pre-legislative scrutiny by a committee of both Houses. Plus I think that there have been some rather cheap shots and distortions of the aims of the Bill and what it will allow which I do not feel reflect grown up poitics or a political intervention of honesty - but then we saw that with the exaggerated debate over the Sexual Orientation Regulations, so there is nothing new in the use of such irresponsible scare tactics (we also saw the use of such tactics by more responsible organisations in the campaigning against the Mental Health Act - we must now get used to this form of campaigning as a means of igniting the media).

Thinking Anglicans also carries some interesting links and reactions, including this one:

Wow, the slimy, slippery slope - from carefully planned empirical research
- with ethical and methodological restraints or parameters - to outright

Goodness knows, if conservative religious beliefs didn't stand
vigorously in the way, we might have got up to any number of other slippery
slope downhill things - like torturing our neighbors for their beliefs (or
unbeliefs), stealing their property when they died from our rough
interrogations, and generally claiming that we always know best because we know
God and God especially loves us for being so strict that a pagan cannot wedge a
lost penny under our tight knickers.

Alas, too often these conversations across the divides take on the character of near-parody. I will parody your understandings, if only you will firmly promise to parody mine. As for divorcing sex/childbirth from marriage, in many cultures the links are hardly the simplistic westernized conservative religious ones an either/or reference in passing might suggest to a casual reader.

Is adopting a strict, closed conservative religious view really, really, really, really the only possible way to value and engage in the value of human life? If we categorically cannot - cannot be allowed to? - empirically and ethically distinguish between embryonic tissues in a petri dish over a two week cycle of experimentation, and the
full-blown human being who just happens to be a queer citizen, partnered and
parenting, who just moved into the empty house next door - we might indeed
wonder if our ethical and empirical tools were too heavy and too blunt to serve
as anything better than a thrashing tool?

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