In September 2011 Christopher Pincher voted for Nadine Dorries’s amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill, which was ultimately defeated by 368 to 118 votes. This amendment would have stopped BPAS and Marie Stopes from providing counselling for women with unwanted pregnancies and allowed ‘independent’ counselling including that provided by faith-based organisations.
In February 2015 Christopher Pincher voted against allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease. If allowed, mitochondrial donation would be regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) meaning that there would be ongoing assessment of the safety and efficacy of such procedures. An October 2014 briefing report by the HFEA, which had been investigating the issue for three years, stated that there was no evidence to show that mitochondrial donation was unsafe. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed. The majority of MPs voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation.
Response to Skeptical Voter Candidate Survey 2010
Questions sent by email, responses received 28/4/10 appear below unedited.
1. Do you support the use of public funds to provide unproven alternative "treatments" such as homeopathy?
I think that research and development of unproven treatments, homeopathic or otherwise, could be considered as part of clinical training in hospitals as well as private hospitals. But I do not believe that public funds should be used to provide unproven treatments. I think NICE or any equivalent should be responsible for determining which treatments are proven.
2. Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?
I think creationism can be taught in the context of the Old Testament and the bilical story as part of Religious Education classes but not as equivalent to the theory of evolution in science classes. The theory of evolution, in my view, has been proven.
3. Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?
I find it difficult to define "ridicule". One man's ridicule is another man's fair comment. I think it better that we allow free speech insofar as it does not result in individual slander or some sort of malicious falsehood or hatred.
4. Should an independent government adviser whose views in their area of expertise conflict with government policy be able to express those views publicly without fear of being sacked?
I think advisers to any body, governmental or otherwise, are best advised to resign if they disagree with a point of policy. I think the best rule of thumb should be advisers advise but ministers decide. If ministers decide they don't like the advice and don't take it, they need to explain why and be prepared to take the flak. But that should not mean they should not be able dispense with the advice or the adviser. To use an historical example, Churchill did not like the advice of CIGS's Ironside and Dill. Eventually he replaced them with Sir Alan Brooke. I don't think he should have been forced to keep either Brook or Dill just because they were the generals and the "experts". Alan Brooke was a much better choice.
5. Should Sharia law be allowed as an alternative system within UK law?
6. Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?
7. Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?
Policy makers have to trust their own judgement based on the advice they get and their own skills, experience and abilities. That is what I think we elect them to do.
8. Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?
I think abortion limits and their votes in the House of Commons must be conscience issues and not a matter of party or government policy. I personally am not comfortable with abortion though I can accept there may be circumstances where it is necessary.
9. Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?
I don't want to alter the current composition of the House of Lords. That is my personal view. I think the bench of bishops adds a useful dimension to debate.
10. Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?
My own view on libel law (as a layman not a lawyer) is that the best thing would be to allow juries more discretion on damage awards. I will need to look further at a stronger public interest defence - I don't think from talking to me my friends in law that it is necessary to make a change at the moment.
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