Human Embryos

Petitions – in the House of Commons at 11:39 pm on 17th December 1984.

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Photo of David Maclean David Maclean , Penrith and The Border 11:39 pm, 17th December 1984

I beg to ask leave to present to the House a petition in the names of Ann Twomey of Wetheral and Mary Delap of Great Corby and on behalf of a further 157 of my constituents of Penrith and The Border. The petition is entitled, Petition for the Protection of the Human Embryo", and my constituents are responding to the Government's invitation to comment on the report of the Warnock committee.

My petitioners Welcome the Statement in the Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilisation and Embryology (the Warnock Report) that "the status of the embryo is a matter of fundamental principle which should be enshrined in legislation" and its recommendation that the embryo of the human species should be afforded protection in law. I entirely agree with that statement.

My petitioners go on to affirm that the newly fertilized human embryos are real individual human beings, and they therefore oppose all such practices as are recommended in the report which discriminate against the embryo or violate his or her human dignity and right to life. They conclude: Wherefore your petitioners pray that the House of Commons will take immediate steps to enact legislation which forbids any procedure that involves purchase or sale of human embryos, the discarding of human embryos, their use as sources of transplant tissue or as subjects for research or experiment (unless this is done solely for the benefit of the embryo concerned). And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will every pray, etc.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Jim Wallace Jim Wallace , Orkney and Shetland 11:41 pm, 17th December 1984

I beg to ask leave to present a petition which has been signed by some 720 of my constituents, mostly in the Shetland part of my constituency. I think that that number amounts to about 5 per cent. of the electorate of that part of my constituency. The terms of the petition for the protection of the human embryo are substantially those that have already been referred to by the hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Maclean). The petition asks that the House of Commons will take immediate steps to enact legislation which forbids any procedure that involves purchase or sale of human embryos, the discarding of human embryos, their use as sources of transplant tissue or as subjects for research or experiment (unless this is done solely for the benefit of the embryo concerned). The petition concludes: And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will every pray, etc. Those who have signed the petition affirm, as I do, that the status of the embryo is a matter of fundamental principle and that the embryo of the human species should be afforded protection in law. I present the petition in that spirit of support.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Albert McQuarrie Mr Albert McQuarrie , Banff and Buchan 11:42 pm, 17th December 1984

I beg to ask leave to present three petitions from residents within the Banff and Buchan constituency. The first petition was initiated by Mrs. Marie Stephens of 39 Prince road, Peterhead, and contains 392 signatures. The second was initiated by the Reverend I. D. Zass-Ogilvie, rector of St.

Marnon's Scottish episcopal church in the village of Aberchirder. The third was initiated by Edith M. Smith of 22 Schoolhendry street, Portsoy, and contains 47 signatures.

All three petitions are couched in identical terms and affirm the petitioners' belief that the newly-fertilised human embryo is a real living individual human being. All three petitions also oppose all practices which discriminate against the embryo or violate his or her human dignity and right to life.

The petitioners continue as follows: Wherefore your Petitioners pray that the House of Commons will take immediate steps to enact legislation which forbids any procedure which involves purchase or sale of human embryos, the discarding of human embryos, their use as sources of transplant tissue or as subjects for research or experiment (unless this is done solely for the benefit of the embryo concerned). The three petitions conclude: And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, etc.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Patrick Thompson Mr Patrick Thompson , Norwich North 11:43 pm, 17th December 1984

I beg to ask leave to present a public petition for the protection of the human embryo, which stands in the name of Joan Johnson and is signed by more than 500 of my constituents from all parts of Norwich, North. I present it in a spirit of support.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Gerry Bermingham Mr Gerry Bermingham , St Helens South 11:44 pm, 17th December 1984

I have a petition to present in respect of 3,662 people in my constituency and surrounding areas that prays in the terms already mentioned tonight. I associate myself with the sentiments expressed in the petition collected by J. Fox. My constituents pray that the House of Commons will take immediate steps to enact legislation which forbids any procedure which involves purchase or sale of human embryos, the discarding of human embryos, their use as sources of transplant tissue or as subjects for research or experiment (unless this is done soley for the benefit of the embryo concerned).And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray etc.

To lie upon the Table.

Photo of Mr Peter Bruinvels Mr Peter Bruinvels , Leicester East 11:45 pm, 17th December 1984

I also beg to ask leave to present a petition in similar terms from the constituents of Leicester, East, which I have the honour to represent, and from all parts of the city of Leicester and the county of Leicestershire.

The petition contains the signatures of 976 people, including many from Leicestershire Life. It rightly draws attention to certain recommendations in the Warnock report, particularly in relation to the status of the embryo. The petition reads: the House of Commons will take immediate steps to enact legislation which forbids any procedure which involves purchase or sale of human embryos, the discarding of human embryos, their use as sources of transplant tissue or as subjects for research or experiment (unless this is done solely for the benefit of the embryo concerned). I heartily endorse all the sentiments expressed in that petition, which has been supported throughout the county. The petition ends And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, etc.

To lie upon the Table.