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Human Embryos

Volume 78: debated on Thursday 2 May 1985

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11 pm

I seek leave to present two petitions, the second and third that I have sought to present on a matter that has become the subject of record petitioning to the House—the protection of the human embryo. They were not presented before the Second Reading of the private Member's Bill on the subject because they were technically deficient at that stage. After they had been corrected I held them back until today—the eve of the return of that private Member's Bill from the Standing Committee for its Report stage on the Floor of the House.

The first petition is in the name of Father Kevin Maxwell, who until recently was priest at Holy Trinity church, Dockhead, in Bermondsey and 151 other local people, many of whom are parishioners of Holy Trinity, Dockhead, and all but seven of whom live in the SE1 or SE16 postal districts of Southwark and Bermondsey.

The second petition is in the names of Mrs. Still of 3 Bromleigh house, Abbey street, SE1, the Reverend Tim Wooderson, vicar of Bermondsey parish church, Dr. Dominic Beer of 25n Becket house, Becket street, SE1 and 82 other people.

The petitions are in similar terms. They affirm that the newly fertilised human embryo is a real, living and individual human being and pray
"that the House of Commons will take immediate steps to enact legislation which forbids any procedure which involves purchase or sale of human embryos, the discarding of human embryos, their use as sources of transplant tissue or as subjects for research or experiment (unless this is done solely for the benefit of the embryo concerned)."
We shall be debating this controversial and difficult matter tomorrow, when these views and others will be properly taken into account by the House.

To lie upon the Table.