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Pre - Implantation Genetic Diagnosis

3 August 2006

Media Release- Pre - Implantation Genetic Diagnosis

Right to Life, in the defense of life deplores the decision of the Minister of Health to provide funding of $500,000 for the use of Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis [PGD] in New Zealand.

PGD is a procedure devised to test early human embryos in IVF for serious genetic conditions. Only embryos that are free from the genetic condition are transferred to women, in the expectation that a normal pregnancy will develop. Those embryos that are diagnosed as having a genetic disorder such as cystic fibrosis, haemophlia or Downs syndrome or are surplus to requirements are discarded and destroyed or experimented on. This is a search and destroy mission. There are many people born with a genetic disability who have a good quality of life and who make a valuable contribution to society. Those with disabilities remind us of our common human frailty and they enrich our society.

PGD defines who shall live and who shall die. This is a violation of the right to life of human embryos diagnosed as having a disability. The funding of PGD gives a message to the parents and the community that the state would prefer that a child with a disability should not be born. This is eugenics and will lead ultimately to designer babies. PGD violates the sanctity of life ethic and seeks to replace it with a humanistic quality of life ethic that decrees that only the healthy have a right to life.

When does human life commence? The Royal Commission on Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion stated in their report to Parliament in 1977 that: “The unborn child, as one of the weakest, the most vulnerable and defenseless forms of humanity, should receive protection.” The Commission heard evidence from around the world and accepted the biological evidence establishing that life begins at conception. The Commission stated that the right to life is a sacred principle of civilisation. “It is an indispensable guarantee of the individual worth of the persons within it. Its universal denial would threaten civilisation and would fail to recognise the dignity of man.”

From the moment of conception every newly conceived life should be reverenced as a unique and unrepeatable miracle of Gods loving creation. The right to life is conferred by our creator, not by the state. It is the duty and privilege of the state to provide effective legal protection from conception for the right to life of every human being including those with a disability. The Minister in approving and funding PGD is usurping the authority of our creator.

The decision of the Minister will have serious social consequences. It could lead to infanticide and will affect the way the community respects those born with a genetic disorder and those with disabilities. As PGD is regulated by mere guidelines and not by law IVF clinics will ultimately be faced with requests for sex selection and babies designed with high intelligence. The UKs Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority [HFEA] is currently proposing that parents be allowed to choose the sex and genetic characteristics of their IVF children before implantation. PGD represents a culture of death. The Minister should promote a culture of life by withdrawing his consent and funding for PGD and proclaiming the sanctity of life of all innocent human life from conception.


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