Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Futile I know ; but here's hoping these MP's remain defiant...

{With thanks to Richard Marsden on the 'Bashing Secularism' blog.}

It is encouraging to hear that up to 40 Labour MPs are considering voting against their party's whip in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill when it comes to the Commons as early as February.

According to the Catholic Herald, Jim Dobbin, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, Joe Benton, secretary of the APPPLG and Geraldine Smith, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, are amongst those planning to rebel.

If Gordon Brown goes through with plans and cracks a three-line whip, it will not just be an inconvenience to Catholic backbenchers, but an outrage which will mark a significant shift in modern British politics. The convention, though unwritten and unofficial, that matters of conscience must be warranted with a free vote to all sides of the House will be well untruly thrown out the window.

In my opinion, this already happened, in a sense, when the government legalised euthanasia by omission in the Mental Capacity Act, which was railroaded through parliament.

Unlike the situation with MCA where most pro-life politicians said "let's get some amendments to try and push the bad bits out of the bill", I hope pro-life MPs will oppose and vote against the Bill outright and in its entirety because there is simply nothing good in its aims. Please let us not have a situation where the hierarchy of the Catholic Church tries to "negotiate" with the Government about how to make the Bill "less bad". It is disastrous by very definition, it will alter the meaning of humanity and of the family itself.

The main thrust of the HFE Bill is to make fatherless children acceptable, experiment on human-animal hybrid embryos, and widen grounds for testing of human embryos to decide whether to transfer them to the womb. The bill will inevitably lead to the destruction of yet more human embryos.

We have a situation where this Christmas could be the last ever when we gaze upon the Child Jesus, Mary and Joseph in the crib and our society accepts that "this is the definite model of how to bring up children in our society". What a frightening prospect. Let us pray hard this Christmas that that will not happen.

But it is encouraging to see that, from the planned rebellion, some MPs will be walking through the "wrong" lobby in support of life.

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