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Monday, February 27, 2017
Pro-life groups comment on 'designer baby' case ruling
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¬†Pro-life groups have expressed concern at the ruling in the Hashmi 'designer baby' appeal, which was granted by the Court of Appeal yesterday. The court overturned a ban on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) issuing a licence for human tissue typing following preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) in order to treat thalassaemia sufferer Zain Hashmi. Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, said: "This anomalous judgement is the thin edge of the wedge to allowing embryos to be created and selected for non-medical reasons. Many embryos will now be created ≠ and die ≠ in this unethical search for genetically desirable children. "There appears to have been a great deal of misinformation reported about this case. The UK Thalassaemia Society has complained in the strongest possible terms about claims that Zain Hashmi's illness is a terminal one. Also, the claim that this case was brought by or against the Hashmi family is false, yet this claim was nonetheless used to attack Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics. It seems as if certain interested parties prefer to exploit the family's situation for their own ends." said Mr Tully. "SPUC has great sympathy for the Hashmis and other families carrying potentially harmful genetic conditions. The development of ethical means of treating these conditions, such as the use of combination immuno suppressant regimes to facilitate tissue transplants, must be prioritised, instead of diverting resources into scientifically interesting, but legally and morally unacceptable techniques. At the same time, we regard it as deplorable to use the suffering of families and children as a means of emotional blackmail to demand that human embryos in the test-tube can be chopped up, tested and discarded as if they were inert samples from an industrial chemical process," concluded Mr Tully. "We extend yet again our well wishes to the Hashmi family, against whom we took no legal action whatsoever,' said Josephine Quintavalle from Comment on Reproductive Ethics. "Tissue-typing is not available in this country anyway, so it was always a debatable point as to whether they were prohibited from continuing the treatment as a result of our court action. We understand they intend to return to Chicago for further attempts at creating a matching baby. "There are serious issues at stake here and from that perspective it is a defeat for society at large and certainly an overwhelming defeat for Parliamentary democracy. "From the outset, this legal debate was conducted less by the courts and more by the media, who were for the most part totally disinterested in the legal arguments and implications, or the ethical issues involved. "We would at least encourage the media even at this late stage to contact the UK Thalassemia Society, whom they have consistently ignored, and to use this opportunity to draw public attention to the reality, treatment and prognosis of the disease from which Zain Hashmi suffers. "This Society can be contacted on 020 8882 0011, and their co-ordinator is called Elaine Miller. CORE would also like to stress that we do not agree with the Thalassemia Society on the issue of tissue-typing, but in our general understanding of the disease we are in total agreement.".
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