News

Statement from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Archbishop Peter Smith on the HFE Bill

25/03/2008

We welcome this afternoon’s announcement from the prime minister who, having carefully considered the representations made to him by many people, has decided that there will be a free vote on three key areas of the HFE Bill. The free vote will be welcomed by people of all faiths or none who are concerned about the implications of this Bill that go to the heart of what it means to be human.

Scientific research into the potential treatment and cure of various diseases is both welcome and necessary. There have been exciting developments in research using adult stem cells that do not involve the deliberate creation and destruction of human life, or the mixing of human and animal life. It is surely possible to achieve the good ends pursued by this research without recourse to ethically questionable means.

As a society we need to discuss and debate the ethical limits of scientific research in the interests of the common good of humanity. This is why we have asked for a national bio-ethics committee, common to other countries, to act as the focal point for discussion and advice on these matters.

But clearly the debate on these important issues will continue both within and outside Parliament over the coming weeks and months.

ENDS

Notes:

Statement from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Archbishop Peter Smith.

Archbishop Peter Smith is Archbishop of Cardiff and chair of the Bishops’ Conference department for Citizenship and Responsibility.