December 9, 2008

Pro-life campaigners lose hybrid-embryo case

by David Masters

Christian campaigners have lost a High Court case in which they challenged the right of university researchers to create hybrid embryos that combine cells from animals and humans.

Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE) and the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) were denied their request to bring a test case on the issue for judicial review.

The campaigners were seeking to overturn a decision made earlier this year by research regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

In January, the HFEA granted licenses for researching hybrid embryos to scientists at King’s College London and Newcastle University.

CLC and CORE argued that the HFEA acted outside its powers when granting this permission.

CORE spokeswoman Josephine Quintavalle said the way the HFEA works is ‘unfair’.

She added that no one representing the rights of the embryo sits on the HFEA’s decision making committees.

However, presiding judge Mrs Justice Dobbs ruled that their case was ‘totally without merit’.

Supporters of the research argue that it could one day lead to treatments for serious illnesses such as cancer and HIV/AIDS.

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