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Human Tissue and Embryos Bill (Draft)

Volume 465: debated on Thursday 25 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received on the draft Human Tissue and Embryos Bill. (159825)

Since the publication of the Human Tissue and Embryos (Draft) Bill on 17 May 2007, the Department has received over 5,800 representations.

These included 5,616 postcards which were a result of a campaign run by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. The campaign covered the following stated position:

The principle that human embryos should be afforded the respect due to human beings;

to oppose the creation of inter-species (human-animal) embryos;

to introduce a complete ban on human cloning; and

to oppose amendments that will lead (even inadvertently) to more abortions.

The Department has also received 241 other representations on the draft Bill, which have included such issues as:

Alternatives to embryonic stem cell research;

the issue of inter-species embryos;

the possibility of changes to current abortion laws;

that the Bill has a lack of an ethical framework; and

the removal of the reference to the ‘need for a father’ as part of the requirement to take account of the welfare of the child before providing licensed assisted conception treatments.