Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Embryos and Pressure Groups
The Human Embryo and Fertilisation Bill is being debated in the Commons at the moment, and one of the more controversial aspects is the amendment being moved by Tory MP Nadine Dorries to lower the abortion limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. I have no wish to go into the ins and outs of this super-charged debate, but it is worth noting the assistance given by one particular pressure group to Dorries. The Lawyers Christian Fellowship, headed by Andrea Williams, has been particularly active on this issue and even drafted the amendment for Dorries to move. they have not only been able to access Westminster - and Williams has worked very closely with Dorries - but have also organised protests outside Parliament on this issue. For AS students approaching Paper 1, this represents an excellent current example of the power of pressure groups. For more information on the link between the LCF and Westminster you can read this article by David Modell (who produced a 'Dispatches' programme on the same topic). The article itself has a clear axe to grind, but is useful in noting how the LCF sets about achieving its agenda - classic insider group tactics.