Embryo Bill Draws Christian and Muslim

Whenever religion gets involved in rational debate, the language is always infused with terminolgy designed to effect an emotive response. 

Is that because religion is primarily involved in the emotional, rather than the rational centres of the brain?

At first sight a piece of text  looks innocent, but please take a look at the argument against by religious doctors that commends the support of Muslims and Christian joining forces against the Embryo Bill that Gordon Brown, our UK Prime Minister is being slated in the press. 

ARGUMENT  FOR

While Gordon Brown offers a free vote over certain issues of the new embryology bill there is something that needs clarifying – the use of language in the debate.

People seem to think that manipulating cells which are less than a fly is immoral compared to delaying advances in medical treatment that could help millions of humans with the capacity to suffer and die from terminal diseases. Ethically there is no issue – embryo’s have no capacity to suffer, yet research could lead to breakthroughs and help people who do. To delay such research in such circumstances is not about morality – it is the height of ignorance and turning a blind eye to the suffering of others.

SO when people say it is a moral issue, make it clear it is about helping people with Parkinson’s, MS, cancer and many other things that effect millions of people. To treat an embryo as more significant then these people is not only immoral, but something that gives credence to the saying that it takes religion to make good people do bad things.

From Homo Economicus Weblog

ARGUMENT  AGAINST

British Muslims Fully Support Catholic Leaders In Their Opposition To The Embryo Bill, UK (copied full extract)

Muslims, as well as many Christians, MPs, doctors and parents, are very concerned about the new EMBRYO BILL, which will shortly be voted on in the House of Commons.
The bill, called The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, will if enacted allow for many immoral, inhumane and undesirable procedures and outcomes.

Effects of the bill in summary:

– The main effect of the bill is to extend the power of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to authorise procedures that will harm or kill embryos created in the laboratory.

– It proposes to sanction new abuses of human embryos.

– The bill extends the ways in which embryos can be artificially created and manipulated – including hybrid (animal-human) embryos, genetic manipulation, etc.

– The bill is designed to make it easier to change the law in future to extend objectionable procedures like cloning.

If passed into law the bill would;

– Allow the production of a Hybrid, a new interspecies embryo for experimentation. This is blasphemous in Islam. It is ‘monstrous’ and is opposed by all believers in GOD, the only Creator, the only Designer. The unique divine process of fertilisation and human creation is SACRED and can not be used or changed for any reason. It is against the dignity of man, as stated by the Cardinal Keith O’Brien. GOD Almighty has chosen man above all the creation.

– Weaken the stress on the welfare of the IVF child, with the removal of the requirement to consider the child’s need for a father.

– Undermine marriage and family values.(‘recognising same-sex couples as legal parents of children conceived through the use of donated sperm, eggs or embryos’ )

– Destroy a large number of embryos.

– Discriminate against embryos with some disabilities.

– Allow couples who have a disabled child undergo IVF in the hope of producing a baby (saviour sibling) who can be used as a tissue donor to treat the older sibling. Whatever the motivation of parents, this usually entails discarding and destroying many embryos.

– Extend the general scope of in vitro fertilisation (IVF), regarding it not only as a treatment for infertile couples, but for others who demand their purported “right” to have a child. (IVF is already allowed, of course, for people who want to fit childbearing around other lifestyle choices – career or relationships: the changes in the bill mean this could become much more common.)

– Allow the use of people’s cells to ‘create’ embryos without consent. The requirement of the existing embryology law for consent before gametes are taken from a person is weakened in the bill. It will become permissible in certain circumstances for the gametes (sperm and eggs) of children and those who are unconscious to be extracted without their consent having been given. Such proposals weaken the principle of consent, which was given strong emphasis in the original embryo legislation in 1990.

For the last few months, Muslims and mosques in Britain have been writing to both Members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, requesting them to oppose this bill as it is:

– Unethical, inhumane, immoral and against GOD and all the Holy Scriptures.
– Dangerous, as it undermines marriage and family values and deprives the innocent child from a father.
– Misleading to the public…as there is no evidence that embryonic stem cell research is going to help in the cure of any diseases.

Unfortunately spokesmen from the Government and from the media, who support the bill, have been holding up the hope of embryonic stem cell research finding a cure or a treatment for many serious diseases as a reason for passing the bill. In reality this is not based on any fact or evidence.

We all are in favour of medical research, which can find treatments and cures for diseases and conditions, however, this research must be ethical, humane, safe, moral and effective and blessed by GOD the Creator. This bill is none of these.

Today we have an ethical and effective alternative: research using adult stem cells. These are ‘created’ from cells taken from the patient or from placenta or cord blood, not from embryos. The taking of these ‘adult’ cells does not cause the death of an embryo in order to do medical research to find treatments or the cures for diseases .

this method does not undermines human dignity and does not abuse the sacredness of human creation.

Muslims believe that for every disease there is a cure which is ethical, safe and effective, but unfortunately many doctors and scientists are not moving in the right direction!

Finally, British Muslims fully support the Catholic Leaders, Ministers and MPs in their opposition to this, the worst Bill in the history of Britain, they will continue with their letter campaign to the MPs in order to oppose this inhumane, destructive and immoral bill.

This bill should not have been presented to Parliament in the first place, however the least we can do now is to demand a free vote on the whole of this bill for all MPs.

Signed by:

-Islamic Medical Association(IMA)
-Muslim Doctors Association(MDA)
-Islamic Medical Ethics Forum(IMEF)
-Union of Muslim Organisations(UMO)

In Medicalnews

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Humanimal Embryo Frankenbunnies or Rational?

 Cloning expert calls on MPs to back hybrid embryos work

A LEADING stem-cell researcher yesterday joined calls for MPs to support potentially life-saving work using animal-human hybrid embryos.

Sir Ian Wilmut, who led the team which created the clone Dolly the sheep, said he respected the views of religious figures such as Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, who has condemned the use of animal-human embryos in research.

Scotsman 27 March ’08

The Why, What, Who etc of the human-animal embryo research.   Edited version offered here.  Please read the full report which explains the rationale behind the arguments for and against.

hybrid-embryo.jpg 

Why are human-animal embryos in the news?

Two groups of UK scientists have today won approval to create human-animal embryos for medical research.

The long-running issue of whether to allow production of the embryos – using human DNA implanted into animal eggs – has in the past prompted sensational headlines about “Frankenbunnies”. A government white paper published in December 2006 after public consultation originally announced that the creation of chimeras – organisms consisting of at least two genetically different kinds of tissue – and other kinds of interspecies embryos would be banned.

What is a human-animal embryo?

True hybrid embryos are made by fertilising an egg with the sperm of another closely related species; for example, a mule is the offspring of a donkey and a horse. Chimeric embryos are made by injecting cells or genetic material from one species into the embryo of another. Scientists at Stanford University in California plan to use this technique to create a mouse with 10% human brain cells. The third type are human transgenic embryos, made by injecting a segment of animal DNA into a human egg.

The fourth type is a cytoplasmic hybrid and is the one being developed in British universities. It is created by transferring the nuclei of human cells, such as skin cells, into animal eggs from which almost all the genetic information has been removed. The resulting embryo would contain only a tiny amount of animal DNA – around 0.1% – and the rest would be human. The embryo would be grown in a lab to a size of around 200 cells.

Why create human-animal embryos?

Scientists developing these embryos say they will provide a plentiful source of stem cells – immature cells that can develop into many different types of tissue – for use in medical research. Researchers believe that by producing stem cells carrying the genetic defects of diseases they will be able to work out how a cell’s molecular machinery goes awry, and perhaps find new cures for diseases.

The research has been hampered by the severe shortage of “spare” human eggs donated by couples undergoing fertility treatment. By using animal eggs, which are far more readily available, British research teams hope to make more rapid progress. Their experiments have shown that the stem cells harvested from hybrid and chimeric embryos behave identically to human ones.

Who is trying to create them?

A team led by Professor Stephen Minger, director of the stem cell biology laboratory at King’s College London, has been offered a licence by the HFEA to use human-bovine embryos to study degenerative neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Dr Lyle Armstrong, of the Northeast England Stem Cell Institute, Newcastle University, has been offered a licence to use cow eggs to research replacement tissues for treating conditions such as diabetes and spinal paralysis.

A third team led by Professor Ian Wilmut, the Edinburgh-based creator of the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep, wants to create human-rabbit embryos to develop treatments for motor neurone disease, although it has yet to apply for a licence.

What happens next?

The research teams at King’s College and Newcastle have to formally accept the offer of the licences.

What are the objections?

There were 300 responses to the government consultation, with 277 opposed to the research, many of them from pro-life groups opposed to any research on embryos. But not all opposition is religious or ethical. Some scientists are also sceptical about the research.

Professor Sir John Gurdon, a Cambridge University researcher who has injected human DNA into frogs’ eggs, told the paper: “Scientifically … I’m not persuaded it will work. If you put cells from one species into the egg of another, the egg may divide, but you could get a lot of genetic abnormality that won’t lead to good-quality stem cells.”

What does the law say?

Ministers originally said they would like to outlaw the creation of human-animal embryos. A 2006 white paper to overhaul the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 proposed banning hybrid work. But the draft fertility bill, published in May 2007, includes a regulation-making power that could lead to human-animal hybrids being allowed. Under existing law, hybrid embryos could not legally be implanted into a woman’s womb.

What is the situation in other countries?

Chinese scientists were reportedly the first to successfully create human-animal embryos. In 2003 a team at the Shanghai Second Medical University fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish before being destroyed to harvest their stem cells. Later that same year, US scientist Professor Panayiotis Zavos announced he had created “human-cow” embryos that lived for around a fortnight and could theoretically have been implanted into a woman’s womb.

In 2004 researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota produced pigs with hybrid pig-human blood cells. In 2005 Parkinson’s disease researchers at the Salk Institute in San Diego reported they had created mice with 0.01% human cells by injecting about 100,000 human embryonic stem cells per mouse. Last year Yale researcher Eugene Redmond led a project injecting millions of human neural stem cells into the brains of monkeys afflicted with Parkinson’s disease. Many countries have banned this human-animal embryo research, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Italy.

Article in Guardian
Img thanks to

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