Dutch MPs agree on embryo testing
A majority of the Dutch MPs has voted in favour for a proposal on testing embryos for hereditary diseases.4 July 2008
THE HAGUE - An overwhelming majority of Dutch MPs has voted in favour of a compromise proposal on testing embryos for hereditary diseases.
The issue caused a crisis in the Dutch cabinet when Deputy Health Minister Jet Bussemaker tried to expand the practice in May, only to be blocked by the smallest coalition party, the Christian Union.
Last week, the cabinet had determined that the Maastricht Academic Hospital, the only facility in the Netherlands where embryo selection is carried out, could resume embryo testing for a more extensive range of diseases.
But as part of the compromise deal, the government has decided to create two separate commissions. One will evaluate each individual case of embryo selection, the other will determine for which diseases - now and in the future - the embryo testing can be carried out.
Hereditary forms of breast and bowel cancer will be included in the diseases, alongside certain kinds of muscular dystrophy.
The compromise has been widely praised by both governing and opposition parties. Only the small rightwing Calvinist party, the SGP, opposes the proposal. However, opposition parties have criticised the way in which the controversial issue was dealt with.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]