The charity LIFE, has renewed its call for the HFEA to be abolished, following the latest HFEA proposals for extending embryo screening. At a public meeting in Belfast tomorrow, the Authority looks set to allow screening of embryos for three new genes. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are linked to an 80% risk of breast cancer and a 40% risk of ovarian cancer, while mutations in the HNPCC gene are linked to an 80% risk of colon cancer. "The arrogant and over-mighty HFEA, an unaccountable and unrepresentative quango, has taken yet another step in a very unpleasant direction," said Niall Gooch, a spokesman for LIFE. "This is eugenics, pure and simple. There is no other word for it. What we see here is the intentional targeting and destruction of certain human beings, a denial of their humanity, because they are seen as inadequate in some respect. Bear in mind that, even if a person is a carrier of a 'faulty' gene that increases their chances of developing a certain illness, this does not mean that they will definitely develop that condition. Genes are not the only factor in the development of disease." "The reduction of disability may seem like a commendable goal, but what embryo screening really amounts to is a search and destroy mission against embryos that may carry genetic disability. The destruction of embryos with genetic disorders is not a cure for disability, any more than killing cancer patients would be a cure for cancer. Screening embryos before implantation, and then destroying or cannibalising them if they do not meet some arbitrary standard, is not progress. It is discrimination of the most grotesque kind. It punishes the carriers of genetic 'disorders' and ends their life before they have even had a chance to be born. At LIFE we believe in the intrinsic dignity of every human being, from conception to natural death. Everyone should have a chance to live, regardless of disability or any supposed genetic 'weakness'. "In a world that will not tolerate weakness and disability, what becomes of the weak and disabled?"
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