Calls for legislation to protect embryos

SENSITIVE legislation must be produced to protect the life of the “embryonic human being”, the Pro-Life campaign insisted.

“The human embryo is not potential life — it is human life with potential. Each one of us passed through this early stage of life on our way to birth,” said the group’s medical advisor, Dr Berry Kiely.

Members of the Pro Life Campaign insisted at a press conference in Dublin the Supreme Court’s “disappointing” ruling in the frozen embryos case did not prevent the Government from introducing legislation to protect early human life.

Dr Kiely pointed out Italy and Germany introduced legal protections for the human embryo even though there was no explicit constitutional protection in those countries for human life at its fragile beginnings.

She said the debate was not about those in favour of research pitched in ideological battle against those opposed to scientific advances.

“Pro-life supporters are just as enthusiastic about the promise of finding treatments for infertility and cures for diseases, but strongly believe this can be achieved without recourse to the taking of human life,” she said.

Dr Kiely said human life began at conception — when the sperm and ova unite. “That, scientifically, is the only thing that makes sense. From the formation of that first single cell what you now have is an organism which is self directing in its own development and that is the kernel of what an individual human life is.”

The campaign’s legal adviser, Prof William Binchy from Trinity College Dublin said it was possible to fashion constitutional and legislative protection that did not disturb fertility practices that have democratic support in this country.

He believed most people would regard the present situation where there was no legal protection for human embryos as unsatisfactory.

Prof Binchy said an Oireachtas committee should examine the issue in detail. “That would seem to us to be the most democratic legislative way of dealing with the issue,” he said.

The Pro-Life Campaign said they had no personal contact with the woman at the centre of the case and had not given her financial support.


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