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Birth technology in HART Bill get it "spot on"

Government proposals for birth technology in HART Bill get it "spot on".

NZORD - the New Zealand Organisation for Rare Disorders

NZORD today presented its submission to Parliament's Health select committee on the government's proposals for regulating human assisted reproductive technology. NZORD Executive Director John Forman gave the proposals full support as drafted. He told the committee the government's Supplementary Order Paper that consolidated two other Bills on the topic, was "spot on" in striking the right balance in an area that could be difficult to manage and legislate on.

"We have a limited amount of necessary legislative direction, coupled with a framework of oversight by a Ministerial advisory committee plus ethics committees, to manage the ethical and social issues involved," said Mr Forman. "That is the only practical way of dealing with these complex issues and applying good ethical principles to particular people in particular circumstances."

Mr Forman emphasised the need for confidence in the ethics process. "We need a practical system to manage the issues and it is simply impossible to deal with them adequately in a prescriptive law. That would lead to injustice and denial of choice to families, many of whom are keen to limit the incidence and severity of inherited disorders in their family," he said.

NZORD supported the legislation in full, but emphasised the need for this to be a part of a bigger picture in health and disability considerations. It was important to avoid personal moral or political stances being enshrined in the law, and this Bill avoided that. A process to manage and resolve the issues was also important and the legislation stopped the debates from going on unresolved forever.

"But most importantly the legislation needed to be seen as an opportunity to accelerate the controlled introduction of new reproductive technologies here such as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis", said Mr Forman. "Such advances have great potential to control serious diseases and reduce the number of pregnancy terminations performed for that purpose. That is very empowering for families and will reduce the ethical dilemmas involved."

Despite a range of individual views held by those affected by rare disorders, Mr Forman said there was strong support among affected families and their support networks for choice to control the incidence of these conditions. Current informed consent processes, and autonomy in decision making, will be well supported by the strong ethical framework put in place by this legislation.

Read NZORD's submission..... &SubCatID=100066&ArticleID=100116>>&SubCatID=100066&ArticleID=100116

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