Human Genetics Alert
For immediate release September 7th 2000
CAHGE Applauds European criticism of British Government
There will be no 'free vote on cloning'
The Campaign Against Human Genetic Engineering1 welcomes the European Parliament's (EP) criticism of the Blair government's position on human cloning 2. The EP said that the government was employing 'linguistic sleight of hand to to erode the moral significance of human cloning'. It says that creating an embryo purely for research 'irreversibly crosses a boundary' and is contrary to EU policy 3. The resolution encourages the use of adult stem cells as an alternative to cloning.
CAHGE adds that the government has deceived the public and even the EP by suggesting there will be a free vote creating embryos by cloning. In fact Parliament will only vote on the less controversial issue of the purposes for embryo research, after no more than a 90 minute debate. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is now free to allow scientists to clone embryos, since the law does not actually forbid this. Thus the government has avoided allowing MPs to vote on the the key issue that concerns the public.
CAHGE's coordinator, Dr. David King said: "Cloning embryos degrades their moral status and risks some US entrepreneur cloning a baby. The government should allow a proper Parliamentary debate on this key moral issue."
For more information contact David King: 0208 809 4513. CAHGE's submission to the Donaldson committee is online at www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~cahge/cloning.htm, as is the text of the EP resolution.
Notes for editors
1. The Campaign Against Human Genetic Engineering is a watchdog group focusing on issues related to human genetics and related technologies. CAHGE is not opposed to genetics research in principle, but is absolutely opposed to human cloning and germ line genetic engineering. CAHGE is not a 'pro-life' organisation.
2. Resolution B5-710, 751, 753 and 764/2000 adopted September 7th 2000. The text can be found at www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~cahge/cloning.htm
3. The UK is the only EU country to permit the creation of embryos for research