Row on embryo selection set to escalate

The row over embryo selection threatens to escalate on Tuesday after Labour (PvdA) leader Wouter Bos said the issue was just as much a matter of principle for the PvdA as it was for the ChristenUnie.

The orthodox Christian party forced the withdrawal of plans to allow embryo selection for a specific breast cancer gene last week.
Bos told tv show EenVandaag that the ChristenUnie, one of three parties making up the cabinet, did not have a monopoly on principles. Junior health minister Jet Bussemaker’s letter giving the go ahead for testing was ‘a very good letter’, Bos told the programme.
The cabinet is set to discuss the issue in the next few weeks. Bos declined to say if he felt the issue was important enough to force a cabinet crisis. The Christian Democrats, the other coalition party, have yet to make up their minds where they stand on the issue.
Meanwhile, Maastricht teaching hospital, which already carries out embryo tests for fatal illnesses such as Huntington, says it will go ahead with screening for the breast cancer gene, despite the cabinet’s position.
‘We do not want to make women wait any longer,’ the head of the hospital’s clinical genetics section Joep Geraedts told Trouw. This is a signal to politicians ‘not to sit on the negotiator’s chair,’ he said.
Christian Democrat MPs said the hospital’s move was ‘provocative’.

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