Move to bar use of eggs from foetuses

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Indy Politics
A BAN on the use of eggs from foetuses will be included in the Criminal Justice Bill after pressure by leading Tory backbench MPs for the law to be tightened.

Home Office ministers believe there is enough support in the Commons to pass the amendment next week on a free vote. Dame Jill Knight, a leading campaigner against liberal abortion laws, has tabled the new clause to the Bill to make it a criminal offence to use eggs from aborted foetuses to implant into women who are unable to produce their own eggs.

There are no recorded cases of the technique being used, but Dame Jill said it would be only a matter of time. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is consulting about the practice. 'It doesn't stop any other research. It is only to ban this one particularly repugnant suggestion that eggs from foetuses could be used,' Dame Jill, the Tory MP for Edgbaston, said.

She has cross-party support including that of Michael Alison, a former parliamentary aide to Lady Thatcher; David Alton and Alan Beith, two leading Liberal Democrats; and many Labour MPs, including Derek Enright, the MP for Hemsworth, and Joe Benton, the MP for Bootle.

A cross-party new clause has been tabled by Mr Alton to tighten the law on 'video nasties' to prevent shops supplying them for home viewing by children under 18. It has widespread support, but it is unclear whether it will be passed. The Home Office is not actively supporting the proposal.

Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, is also resisting pressure to use the Criminal Justice Bill to tighten the laws against terrorism in Northern Ireland.

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