Kirk warns Scots MPs over embryology Bill

A senior figure in the Church of Scotland has written to Scottish MPs saying that destructive experiments on human embryos violate the sanctity of life.

Next week MPs will debate the remaining stages of the Government’s controversial Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

The Bill widens the door for experiments on human embryos. It allows for the creation of embryos that are part-animal and part-human, and the creation of so-called ‘saviour siblings’.

Revd Ian Galloway, convener of the Kirk’s Church and Society Council, has written a letter to all Scottish MPs.

Enclosed in the letter is a copy of the 2006 General Assembly report on stem cell research, which says that experiments on human embryos would violate the sanctity of life.

Revd Galloway said: “The Bible strongly encourages us to care for the sick and to use what we have been given for the benefit of others. It also calls us to be wise and sometimes not to do what is possible because of other consequences.

“As it stands, the Bill would give scientists licence to create human embryos for no purpose other than research.

“Essentially this means the creation of human embryos for a purpose other than creating a life, something the Church of Scotland has stood against for a long time. This is an example of it being unwise to do what is possible, especially as the end result can be achieved in other more ethically acceptable ways.

“We would urge the government to encourage research into stem cells derived from adult tissues and placental cord blood, and to work to find therapeutic solutions which avoid embryo use.”

A spokesperson for the Church of Scotland said it also “notes with unease that the debate on what are inevitably controversial areas around human reproduction often appears to be portrayed as one of ‘scientists vs the church’.

“This false dichotomy, and the emotive terms sometimes deployed, are to be regretted and are unhelpful in progressing this debate.”

MPs are scheduled to debate the remaining stages of the Bill on Wednesday.

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