Monday, 8 September 2008

HF& E Bill - MP Reply

I recieved a reply from my (catholic) MP, Anne McGuire, following my letter asking her to vote against the various 'free vote' provisions of the Bill and subsequently why she missed the debate and vote on the abortion time limit.

1 'Unfortunatley on the second day of the debate... I had prior commitments away from the House of Commons so I was unable to participate in the debate or vote on abortion...'

2 I voted against the "hybrid embryo" provisions and for the "saviour sibling" provision. I will support the Government on the third reading as these will be about the Bill in general.

3 ...MP's voted not on party lines but took decsions on the basis of debate and representations made to them by a range of people. THis would indicate a balanced decision was arrived at and on such important and emotive issues I hope you would agree that this is the best way forward.

I have responded;

Dear Mrs McGuire

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

Thank you for your response of 27 May, I would note the following;

In respect of your prior commitments on the day of the abortion debate and votes, I assume these commitments were extremely important and simply could not be cancelled given it was such an important debate and vote, and that consideration was made to cancelling the engagement.

I would ask you again not to support the Government at further readings. To use an analogy, this would be like my school looking to undertake a laudable aim such as elimination of Bullying. Various positive measures might be proposed such as awareness raising, working with bullies etc but totally unacceptable ones such as an S4 lynch mob might be proposed. I would obviously vote for the former but not the lynch mob. When the whole package came to be voted for approval it would be like the S4 lynch mob had made it onto the final proposals and I would be expected to vote for the whole package as everyone had the chance to reject it earlier!

I'm afraid I cannot agree with your view that a ‘balanced view’ has been reached. In ethical matters such as these, for me, truth is the guiding factor, not a (un)balanced decision which has been reached through some attempt at consensus.

I note you did not answer my question on how you would have voted on the abortion time limit provisions. I appreciate this may have been an oversight but would ask you directly to answer on this occasion.

I would commend to you the SPUC briefing on amendments to the Bill & Cardinal O’Brien’s comments.

I await a reply with interest!

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