Campaigners condemn new human cloning bill

 Following the defeat of the government's cloning Bill last week, a new revised Human Reproduction Cloning Bill was introduced by Lord Hunt today. LIFE, the UK prolife charity, condemned the proposed legislation as 'slipshod and dangerous' saying the government's proposed Bill on human cloning, was being "rushed through both Houses of Parliament without proper debate." Peter Garrett, LIFE's Director of Research, said: "The Bill proposed will prohibit the "placing in a woman of a human embryo that has been created otherwise than by fertilisation", but it fails to mention the gestation of cloned human embryos in the bodies of animals or men. "In 1999 Lord Winston argued: 'Male pregnancy would certainly be possible and would be the same as when a woman has an ectopic pregnancy - outside the uterus - although to sustain it, you'd have to give the man lots of female hormones' (Sunday Times, 21.2.99), and this opinion was later backed up by Dr Simon Fishel, Director of the Centre for Assisted Reproduction in Nottingham, who said: 'there is no reason why a man could not carry a child'." "The Bill would also allow completely unregulated creation of cloned human embryos. These might end up being exported or implanted off-shore into surrogate mothers. "We have always been told by Her Majesty's Government that the great virtue of embryo research in the UK is its regulation by the HFEA. Now, we are supposed to except the creation of a new category of totally unregulated human embryos. This is highly dangerous and grossly irresponsible. "Parliament is being misled factually and abused procedurally by an unprecedented level of Governmental arrogance. LIFE calls for a ban on all forms of human cloning as the only way to protect public health. The Government rushed through shoddy cloning regulations this time last year, let's not make the same mistake again." In a statement, the ProLife Alliance said: "Lord Hunt's Human Reproductive Cloning Bill is riddled with loopholes and will be unable to achieve its purpose. The dreaded Dr Antinori, who may be criticised for his technical capacity has never been short of first-class legal advisers, and he could well exploit these escape routes. The original regulations were passed in reckless haste, but now the Government appears to be using as their model the fast food industry. Will they never learn? "We have been taking legal advice on these issues for the past eighteen months and were proved right in the High Court. I can assure you we will be proved right again. The Government's casual attitude to the law and yet again its inadequacy in this field will be exposed. Amendments to this Bill will be long and complicated. "We want human cloning banned effectively and as soon as possible. This Bill will not achieve that goal. It is the process of cloning which must be stopped, not the destiny of the embryo after it has been cloned." Josephine Quintavalle, from the Campaign on Human Reproductive Ethics, said: "Ostensibly the Government has had since January to get this Bill drafted properly, but I suspect it was a slap happy overnight effort judging by what I saw this morning. I will give you one example. The Act does not ban the process of creating cloned human embryos. It bans the subsequent implantation of a cloned human embryo in a woman. Diane Blood (who successfully challenged the HFEA and was given approval to export her dead husbands sperm to Belgium) has already amply demonstrated how impossible it will be to implement such a ban. Colleagues in Europe have assured us that were human embryos to be cloned in the United Kingdom it would be impossible to prohibit their exportation to another European country, where the implantation ban would not hold, or be compatible with the Human Rights legislation. "The bill specifies that the cloned human embryo may not be implanted in a woman. What about implantation in other mammalian species? A cow? Least the public thinks this is not a possibility science is already nurturing human sperm in rats, and human ovarian tissue in rabbits. An American scientist is actually creating human embryos with enucleated cows eggs." She said: "As today unfolds I know that many more such anomalies in this Bill will come to light, identified by the various groups who have been studying these issues in great detail over the last three years."

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