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Campaigners ‘fear the worst’ as MPs prepare to vote on three-parent babies

'Amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act that would allow IVF clinics to replace an egg’s defective mitochondrial DNA with healthy DNA from a female donor' (PA)

A leading pro-life charity has said it “fears the worst” as MPs prepare to vote on whether to change the law to allow three-parent babies.

MPs will vote later today on an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act that would allow IVF clinics to replace an egg’s defective mitochondrial DNA with healthy DNA from a female donor, which would result in babies having DNA from three people

Life, Britain’s biggest pro-life charity, has been asking people to lobby their MPs to vote against the proposed change to the law, however a spokesman said in a statement that he was not optimistic about the outcome of the debate.

“We fear the worst. The Department of Health, led by Health Minister Jane Ellison, who was educated in a Catholic convent school, is bent on getting its way,” the statement said.

“It tried to smuggle legislation through Parliament but was forced to bring its proposals onto the floor of the House to be voted on by all MPs, but it is still insisting that what it proposes, so-called mitochondrial donation, is not genetic modification and there’s nothing to worry about. That is simply nonsense.”

SPUC, a pro-life campaign group, has also raised its concerns ahead of the vote in the House of Commons. In a statement, the campaign group described Britain as “the pioneers of abuses of unborn children”.

Paul Tully, SPUC’s general secretary, said: “The 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act was not intended to permit human cloning, and so the alteration of germ-line genetic material was forbidden.

“However, the proponents of the 1990 Act held out promises of cures and medical advances for children with inherited diseases if they were allowed to use some embryos as guinea-pigs. These benefits failed to materialise.”

Mr Tully added that if the MPs vote in favour of the amendment then it would “sets a precedent for wider cloning of human beings, not in a sinister dictatorship or science fiction world, but here in the UK”.

“We are the pioneers of abuses of unborn children like legalised abortion, IVF and genetic screening, and we are in danger of losing all feeling for the victims of such medicalised exploitation,” he added.

“MPs have been consistently misled in the past about the prospects of success and the future intentions of those who want to use the tiniest humans – human embryos – for experiments. They should reject today’s proposals,”

Meanwhile, Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, has also called on MPs to vote against the law changes.

Changing the law would be crossing “an ethical, legal and scientific line” and would make the UK a “rogue state amongst the international community of ethical scientific endeavour,” she said.

In a letter to MPs, she wrote: “The Government is effectively seeking a licence to allow experiments on human beings – not only on human embryos but a life-long experiment on the children who are born as a result, and their children and their children.”

A petition has also been launched by the ProLife Alliance against the proposed amendment to the law.

Last week, Bishop John Sherrington, of the bishops’ conference department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship, urged MPs to vote against proposed legislative change.