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Friday, February 12, 2010

Why Minister Harney shouldn't follow unbalanced CAHR recommendations.

Minister Mary Harney is expected to publish proposals allowing destruction of human embryos in vitro following the Supreme Court decision (R -v- R) before Christmas that they are not protected under Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution. She will consider the recommendations of the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction (CAHR), set up by the Government. It issued its report in 2005. The Commission had 25 members. The recommendations included proposals involving the deliberate destruction of human embryos in vivo.

The question may be asked 'Why not just implement the recommendations of the CAHR Report? Here's the answer.

It would be undemocratic for four reasons:

(i) The make-up of the Commission was unbalanced. Only one out of 25 members opposed the deliberate destruction of human embryos. The composition of the Commission decided on by the government guaranteed a majority proposal supporting embryo destruction.

(ii) Professional opinion polls carried out for the Pro-Life Campaign show a majority year after year favouring legislation protecting embryos. So the recommendations of the stacked Commission do not reflect the balance of opinion in the general public. Already some of its arguments claiming deliberate embryo destruction was needed are being overtaken by scientific developments.

(iii) The Commission advertised in 2001 for submissions from the public and received 'over 1700 responses' (p.38) but the Report didn't reveal how many opposed embryo destruction and how many supported it. Why not?

(iv) Only one member of the Commission disagreed with its recommendations, Professor Gerry Whyte, Associate Law Professor in the Law School, Trinity College Dublin. To read his carefully thought out case rejecting the proposals allowing for the deliberate destruction of human embryos, click here

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