Sunday, May 18, 2008

From today's papers

Quite a lot in the papers about the HFEB votes.

Simon Jenkins is excellent and rightly robust in the Times Family planning is one area in which we don't need MP's help

Some quotes:

The Commons will have a chance to stamp the medieval demand of the Catholic Church that MPs obey its edicts rather than their judgments.
Those who regard women as involuntary incubators of God’s souls treat all abortion as murder and therefore seek to ban it by law. I cannot see how this entitles them also to draw fine distinctions as between 24 weeks and 20, 18 or 13. Abortion should be a matter for women, couples, doctors and medical advance to resolve. Each case will be personal and unique. Parliament, having decided to interfere, should at least leave in place a limit validated by experience.

The opposition is like that to Queen Victoria’s use of chloroform in childbirth as “defying God’s labour”.

As for the Commons debate over whether an IVF baby needs a father, words almost fail me. Of course babies are better off with fathers, but whose business is that? We do not enforce abortions on pregnant schoolgirls for lacking a husband, despite the near-certainty of such a child being born into a dysfunctional home. What are we doing about families ruined by rotten fathers? In my experience women seeking IVF, whether gay or not, are self-selected as responsible parents by virtue of being prepared to go through this uncomfortable process.

However, anyone who thinks that parliament will do the job better should look at this week’s whipping list, with its ludicrous distinction between “government” clauses and “conscience” clauses. Every law should be on MPs’ consciences. For the most part MPs should stop meddling in how people choose to plan and protect their families. They have enough trouble with their own.

Very well and succinctly put.

Also in the Observer:

Gordon Brown Why I believe stem cell researchers deserve our backing

Should scientists be given the legal framework they say they need to pursue new cures and treatments through stem cell research or will we turn our back on these potential advances?

Should children who face death or critical illness find new hope in scientific advances that would allow their new brother or sister to be not just a blessing to their family, but also a saviour sibling to them?

And should people be able to approach IVF clinics without fear of discrimination on the grounds of their sexual orientation?

My answer to all those questions is an unequivocal yes.

Mary Warnock Women, not the unborn deserve our protection

For law cannot be based on what is largely a religious belief and, this apart, we know that abortions would continue to be carried out, only more dangerously, by dodgy doctors or unqualified backstreet abortionists. For those too young to remember, trust me, this is never to be wished for.

The truth, as it always has been, is that we should turn our attention instead to their mothers and consider why they are seeking to abort their babies at so late a stage of pregnancy.

We ought to pay less attention to the destruction of life by abortion than to the quality of life of those who are allowed to live. Life, after all, is not an abstract shared by everyone who is alive - there is no human life that is not lived by somebody. And it is these living people to whom we should attach value and whom we should, if necessary, protect.

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