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Embryo research debate.

CONTROVERSIAL legislation to widen the scope of embryo research will today begin what is likely to be a stormy passage through the House of Commons.

Gordon Brown argues that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is needed to enable vital medical research into treatment for conditions such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, cancer and heart disease.

But some of the provisions in the Bill - most notably the creation of hybrid or "admix" embryos through the combination of animal eggs and human nuclei - have proved highly controversial.

At the same time, the Bill will seek a fresh attempt to lower the current 24-week time limit on abortions in what is expected to be a fiercely contested parliamentary battle on both sides of the debate.

However, a poll of 109 MPs today suggests that while extending embryo research would succeed, moves to change the abortion law would be defeated.

Fifty-seven said that they would vote to keep the existing time limit, while 36 would vote for change, with two abstentions and 14 undecided.

The PM has been forced to grant Labour MPs a free vote after a threatened revolt by Catholic ministers.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:May 12, 2008
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