May 26, 2024

Claims by Irish bioethics council attacked

Embryo rights not a religious dogma

The Irish Council for Bioethics recently recommended by a unanimous vote that frozen IVF embryos could be destroyed for research to generate human embryonic stem cell lines. Now a group of Irish academics and scientists have written an open letter criticising its proposals in order to dispel the impression that they represent the consensus of the academic and biomedical communities. They say that human beings have a unique moral status, regardless of their stage of development

"The embryos are human individuals. The disturbing suggestion… that the value of an embryo might be contingent on the attitude of parents is not consistent with any valid concept of individual human rights. Neither the fact that many embryos die, nor that twinning can occur, changes the fact that destroying IVF embryos is destroying the lives of human individuals," says the letter. It also claims that there is no evidence to suggest that embryonic stem cell research is essential for advancing scientific knowledge and curing diseases.

The authors conclude that "The issue of rights of embryos is often portrayed as a religious issue, but our position is based on scientific principles and out of  concern for fundamental human rights, not on religious dogma." ~ Irish Times, May 11