Campaigners protest as HFEA approves licences to create human-animal embryos

 Christian Concern for our Nation has criticized today's decision of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, to grant licences to scientists to use human-animal hybrid embryos in their research as "premature and unethical". Andrea Minichiello Williams of CCFON said: "The HFEA are once again showing complete contempt for the Parliamentary process by pushing forward their agenda without waiting for Parliament to reach a final decision on whether these types of experiments should be legal or not. The ethical boundary being crossed, that of not mixing human and animal, is one shared by most, and until recently accepted by both Government and the scientific community. "It is increasingly difficult to see how the HFEA can claim independence when they are so clearly pushing forward an agenda which turns our nation into Brave New Britain, out on a limb among western democracies. If such experiments were to take place elsewhere in Europe the scientists doing them would be likely to find themselves in prison." On Tuesday, the House of Lords voted in favour of a Bill allowing the creation of mixed human-animal embryos. Opponents in the Lords argued that the law tampered with what it fundamentally means to be human. "It crosses the line between human and animal," Lord David Alton said. "It's disturbing what it means to be human." But peers who voted in favour said that it was needed to advance vital research into areas such as spinal injuries, because human eggs are in relatively short supply. The Bill is due to be debated in the House of Commons next month. Josephine Quintavalle, founder of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said yesterday that the fight over abortion will become central once the bill moves to the House of Commons. Before the act officially becomes law, observers predict that both sides will try to amend it, to either relax abortion regulations or to push back the time limit for most legal terminations to 20 weeks. The Christian Legal Centre and Comment on Reproductive Ethics are considering whether to bring a legal challenge against the HFEA for making their decision before the Bill has been debated and voted on in the House of Commons.

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