Human Genetics Alert

Unit 112 Aberdeen House 22-24 Highbury Grove, London N5 2EA
Phone: 020 7704 6100 fax: 020 7359 8423


For immediate release 23 March 2005

Human Genetics Alert comments on report on Reproductive Technologies and the Law

Human Genetics Alert (HGA;1) today criticised the Science and Technology Committee for dismissing the public’s concerns about reproductive technology and genetics. Instead, the Committee has adopted a narrow libertarian ideology, which dictates removal of nearly all legal safeguards and regulation.

The committee appears to have listened only a small clique of libertarian lobby groups and academics, rather than to the majority of the evidence presented to it. It criticises the properly precautionary approach used until now, and argues that there must be demonstrable evidence of future harm before society may protect itself. Yet this goes beyond the anti-precautionary into the realm of logical impossibility: of course, no one can prove that harm will happen in the future. Yet it is surely reasonable to act when it is likely that harm may occur.

Dr David King, Director of Human Genetics Alert, said:

”The kind of ethics we see in this report, which is incapable of saying a clear ‘no’ to anything, is no ethics at all. Even when dealing with human genetic engineering, cloning or the creation of human-animal hybrids, the committee wants to remove existing protections. The extreme bias in this report discredits the committee and the political cause it is espousing.

The public wants clear lines drawn to prevent consumer sex selection, cloning and other designer baby technologies. If politicians want to prevent a backlash against genetics they should not try to dismantle all the legal safeguards and regulatory apparatus that already exist.

Social sex selection should not be allowed, because it turns children into consumer items and allows gender stereotypes to determine who gets born. It will throw the door to designer babies wide open. ”

For more information contact Dr David King on 020 7704 6100, or 07940 482258.

Notes for editors

1. Human Genetics Alert is an independent, pro-choice, watchdog group. Our briefing on sex selection can be found at:

Human Genetics Alert
Unit 127 Aberdeen House
22-24 Highbury Grove
London N5 2EA
t +44 (0)20 7704 6100
f +44 (0)20 7359 8423