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11 / 07 / 2008 - HFE Bill - Latest News
Amending the Embryology Bill: The Latest News
Where Are We Now?
Parliament was originally scheduled to debate a number of amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (HFEA Bill) this Monday, 14 July. The debate, however, has been rescheduled for October. This delay is actually quite an encouraging development, because it shows that the government is feeling the ever-mounting pressure to get rid of amendments that seek to further liberalise abortion. This pressure is only amplified by the fact that there is soon to be a by-election in Glasgow East, which will allow us to campaign for a pro-life MP who will have a vote on these proposed amendments when they are debated in October. The postponement of debate on these pro-abortion amendments to the HFEA Bill allows us to coalesce as a unified community in opposition to further liberalisation of abortion in the UK.
Nevertheless, though debate on these amendments has been delayed, they have not been defeated. It is, therefore, important that we make you aware of what the proposed amendments—two, in particular—purport to accomplish. This will allow you to confidently contact your MPs in the upcoming weeks to let them know how you, as an informed and concerned constituent, think they should vote when these amendments do come before Parliament. Finally, we want to encourage you with news that, despite having lost many votes on the HFEA Bill itself, we are seeing small, but encouraging, victories in battles over these controversial pro-abortion amendments.
Proposed Abortion Amendments
Pro-abortion advocates are proposing two new amendments to the HFEA Bill which, if passed, would significantly expand the scope and power of the abortion industry in the UK. The first amendment, proposed by Conservative MP John Bercow, could potentially criminalise advertising by providers of alternatives to abortion, such as providers of crisis pregnancy counselling or adoption services. The second amendment, tabled by Evan Harris, seeks to remove the right of doctors and pharmacists to refuse, on the grounds of “conscientious objection”, to prescribe or dispense emergency contraception, including the “Morning After Pill”.
Even though the issue of these amendments has been postponed, we must continue to not only be steadfast in prayer, but also be actively involved in contacting our MPs to let them know how we feel about expanding the abortion industry. Lest we think at any time that our efforts are hopeless against the power of the secular establishment, ponder the words of renowned Dutch prime minister, statesman, and theologian Abraham Kuyper, who once said, “In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, 'That is mine!'” It is paramount, then, that we do not become weary in well-doing. To the contrary, we must humble ourselves and pray for God’s intercession on our behalf in this time of need.
The Bercow Amendment
The Bercow Amendment makes it a criminal offence for a crisis pregnancy service to advertise that it provides abortion-related services when it does not recommend having abortions. If passed, this amendment would subject crisis pregnancy centres to criminal prosecution where the average woman’s mind might be changed with regard to having an abortion, or even where a woman’s mind is changed and she decides to keep her baby as a result. Essentially, the providers of any such service that do not make their pro-life stance abundantly clear may face criminal prosecution.
Ironically, the pro-“choice” lobby is actually seeking to curtail women’s choices by implementing draconian controls on the information women may receive pertaining to abortion. The truth of the matter is that the pro-choice lobby does not fear “misleading” advertising. It fears the results of what happens to women when they are told about the reality of life—that they really are carrying a baby. And, consequently, those who support abortion have suppressed the truth for a lie.
The Harris Amendment
Evan Harris has proposed an amendment which abolishes the right of doctors and pharmacists to object, on the grounds of conscience, to prescribing or dispensing emergency contraception, which would include the “Morning After Pill”. The practical significance of this amendment is, then, that doctors and pharmacists would be compelled to prescribe or dispense the “Morning After Pill”, in spite of firmly-held beliefs to the contrary.
This amendment has disturbing ramifications, particularly for human rights and freedom of conscience. If such an amendment were enacted, it would result in the UK not only breaching international law obligations, but also European law obligations.
Source : Christian Concern for our Nation (CCFON)