Cabinet split looms over embryo selection

A cabinet split is looming over health ministry plans to allow the selection of embryos without a gene for a serious form of breast cancer, Trouw reports on Friday.

On Monday, junior health minister Jet Bussemaker told MPs she was to relax the rules on pre-selection to include the breast cancer check. But ministers from the orthodox Christian party ChristenUnie are demanding the plan be withdrawn.
The ChristenUnie is not only opposed to the measure in principle, but ministers are also furious that the proposal was not first discussed in the cabinet, Trouw says. In addition, health minister Ab Klink (Christian Democrat) was not aware of the plan.
Deputy prime minister and ChristenUnie leader André Rouvoet has insisted the plan is discussed at today’s cabinet meeting and is determined to force the cabinet to back either him or Bussemaker, Trouw says.
‘Rouvoet is extremely angry about it,’ a source told the Volkskrant.
While Labour (PvdA) ministers back the junior minister, ChristenUnie MPs are also totally opposed to pre-selection. Christian Democrat MPs have not yet taken a definitive position, the Volkskrant said.
Embryos created through test-tube baby techniques can currently be pre-selected for life-threatening conditions such as Huntington’s disease.
Bussemaker says the move is a continuation of the policy initiated by her predecessor Clemence Ross (CDA) and that there was therefore no need to inform the cabinet.

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