THE campaigning group Christian Concern for Our Nation (CCFON) is urging Christians to vote at the next General Election on the basis of their MP’s parliamentary voting record on “life issues” such as abortion and euthanasia.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, founder of CCFON, called for voters to think carefully after the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) Bill passed its third and final reading in the House of Commons by 355 votes to 129 on Wednesday of last week.
The Bill provoked strong views when it was debated earlier this year. It will allow the creation of hybrid animal-human embryos and remove the need for a father in IVF treatment.
But attempts to liberalise further the law on abortion — by extending the Act to Northern Ireland, and by allowing nurses to carry out abortions — failed to go through last week, as there was not sufficient time to discuss amendments about them in the Commons.
Ms Williams said it was a “victory on abortion”, but that CCFON would not be celebrating, as the Bill would still allow “designer babies” through the creation of “saviour siblings”, and was “a devastating piece of legislation”.
She said she believed public pressure against further liberalisation of abortion laws made the Government realise they “were out of kilter with public opinion”. “Our next strategy will be to encourage people to vote in the General Election on these life issues, and we would encourage Christians to ask their MP or candidate where they stand on abortion, euthanasia, and the family and marriage.
“If they support these things such as the importance of a father for a family, they can be trusted to vote prudently on other issues. Christians need to make these things the real issue in the next couple of years.”
The abortion “reprieve” was welcomed by the Evangelical Alliance, which said the amendment to extend the act to Northern Ireland was “an undemocratic move by a select number of MPs ignoring the unique political consensus among political parties” in the province.
But MPs who supported the Act were disappointed with the lack of a debate on the subject. The Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris accused the Government of “running scared” of a discussion.
The HFE Bill was scheduled to go to the House of Lords on Wednesday.