Pro-Life Anger at Cloning Trials

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), August 6, 2001 | Go to article overview

Pro-Life Anger at Cloning Trials


Byline: DANNY KEMP

PRO-life groups yesterday predicted human cloning would become a reality in Britain after it emerged that eight women from the UK are to take part in the first trials of the process.

The women are said to be among hundreds who have volunteered to be impregnated with cloned embryos in the project, which is led by controversial fertility doctor Professor Severino Antinori.

The Italian embryologist is expected to tell the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC this week that he aims to start a cloning programme for infertile couples this November.

Among the eight Britons are a London investment banker and his wife, and a Berkshire couple, according to the Sunday Times.

A British molecular biologist is said to be among Prof Antinori's team of 20 international specialists, the newspaper added.

Professor Jack Scarisbrick, national director of Life, said there was "no doubt whatsoever" reproductive cloning would eventually become legal in the UK.

The House of Lords voted earlier this year to legalise only the cloning of human embryos for therapeutic, or research purposes, a move praised by Prof Antinori.

"The story is utterly predictable. We knew it would happen and it is no accident that Prof Antinori has thanked Tony Blair," Prof Scarisbrick said.

"The pressures will be great. The tear-jerking, hard luck stories will come out and will carry away the Great British public.

"When people hear a story about couples who have lost a child and want to replace it, they will consent to it, inevitably."

He added: "The Government has told us they would never consent to birth cloning, but no Parliament can bind its successors. …

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