There has been much written about the upcoming vote on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, especially about the proposal to liberalise abortion further in Northern Ireland. Sarah however has spotted a little-discussed government amendment, which, if passed, raises a serious issue of medical ethics (ironically a restriction of same right that the government wishes to defend; namely the right of a person to decide what happens to their own body).
If the amendment is passed, tissue samples for creating human/animal embroys can be taken from people who are not considered mentally capable of making their own decisions. Now, obviously there are some areas (such as financial ones), in which it is right for carers/relatives to have a degree of control, as that might be the only practical situation. I cannot, however, see any rationale for this. As Sarah points out:
Leading learning disability charities said they knew little about this amendment to the Bill, which has, not surprisingly, received very little publicity… if this amendment to the Bill is passed on Wednesday, it will not only sweep away 25 years of progress in medical ethics. It will also sweep away too many years of hard work by Disability Rights campaigners to convince the mainstream world that we are human, too, and that they should do Nothing About Us, Without Us.
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