Embryo horrors ‘last seen under Nazis’, says Cardinal

Scotland’s Roman Catholic leader has told the Prime Minister that measures in the embryos Bill are comparable to the eugenics experiments of Nazi Germany.

Cardinal Keith O’ Brien, the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, told Gordon Brown that he was “appalled” at him for promoting the Bill, due for its Lords stages this evening.

He referred in particular to the issue of consent involving human tissue.

An amendment was passed during Commons stages which allows scientists to use ‘anonymised tissue’ from children, mentally incapacitated people, and people who have died, to make animal-human embryos without the donor’s explicit consent.

Cardinal O’Brien told Mr Brown: “I am appalled that you are promoting a Bill which seeks, by stealth, to create a regime where extracting tissue and cells from human beings no longer requires their consent or involvement.”

He added: “The grotesque implications of these procedures are utterly horrifying.

“Removing parts of people’s bodies without consent utterly flies in the face of BMA and GMC guidance.

“Such behaviour was last seen under the Nazis.”

Under the Nazi regime, scientists pursued eugenics experiments in a bid to create a ‘perfect’ human race.

As part of that, hundreds of thousands of disabled people were sterilised without their consent.

In 1948, in the wake of the Nuremberg trials, The Geneva Convention Code of Medical Ethics was adopted.

It originally included the following statement: “I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception; even under threat. I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.”

Many European countries retain strict laws on medical ethics, while Britain has been perceived as a “rogue state” because of its laxity in this area.

Related Resources