April 20, 2024

German media criticize British hybrid decision

“Unethical”, say doctors and media
While there
must be a feeling of relief in the government benches after a controversial
bill authorising the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos sailed through the
British Parliament, reaction in other countries has been mixed. Interestingly,
although the British media supported the legislation, several leading German
newspapers were horrified. Here are extracts from some editorials:

center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung was
dismayed: “One can see a society’s moral standards in the way it treats its
weakest members. This British regulation will carelessly compromise this
ethical understanding.”

conservative Die Welt, on the other
hand, called it responsible politics:
“One sign for the high level of the debate was the fact that the MPs did not
allow themselves to be influenced or misled by catch phrases, such as
‘Frankenstein science.’ Nothing can be had in life without responsible risk.”

centre-right Frankfurter Allgemeiner
criticised Parliament’s naïve faith in science: “Even if it might
sound a bit excessive to label Britain henceforth as a land of rogue
scientists, they may only be disappointed in their often desperate hope for
medical marvels.”

The left-leaning
Die Tageszeitung was enthusiastic:
"All technical revolutions have shifted our standards. In the early
stages, even the steam engine, immunization, in vitro fertilization and the
computer faced strong opposition. But traditional standards aren’t always
enough. Welcome to the century of the life sciences."

And Frank
Ulrich Montgomery, the vice-president of the German Medical Association, which
sharply criticised the move, was scathing: “We consider this decision to be a
serious mistake. Just the fact that viable embryos are to be destroyed shows
that they are developing a completely different relationship to growing life.”
Deutsche Welle,
May 21
; Der Spiegel, May 21