In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Geoffrey Clifton-Brown voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 22 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 weeks. After four separate parliamentary votes on varying time limits, the majority of MPs voted to keep the abortion time limit at 24 weeks, in keeping with scientific and medical consensus, hence no abortion amendments were added to the bill.
In February 2015 Geoffrey Clifton-Brown voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease. An October 2014 briefing report by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (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. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.
Medical Innovation ("Saatchi") Bill
In March 2015, in the context of reports that the Liberal Democrats would "veto" the Bill, Mr Clifton-Brown was quoted on the Cirencester-Thames Conservatives Facebook page:
- "Ever since my late constituent, Les Halpin, came to me in 2011, to ask me to campaign on his behalf for early access to medicines, I have campaigned on efforts to realise this aim. Lord Saatchi’s Medical Innovation Bill would have helped achieve this.
- "It seems right that following carefully considered clinical trials, whereby terminally ill patients opt in, so that the efficacy and effectiveness of new drugs which have passed their Stage Two test, should be carefully evaluated by expert clinicians in the NHS. This could accelerate the development of new drugs.
- "I give a pledge that despite the Liberal Democrats blocking this measure, I will do my best, should I be re-elected, to re-introduce a Private Member’s Bill along the same lines as Lord Saatchi’s bill in the next Parliament. For a Liberal Democrat Minister to block this bill seems to be mean, narrow minded and above all short sighted."
However, the skeptical medical blogger Andy Lewis had called the Medical Innovation Bill a "quacks' charter" and stated "The Saatchi Bill is based on a false premise, shows no understanding of medical research and removes vital protections for patients". Medical and patient organisations including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Motor Neuron Disease Association, and the Patients Association had stated their opposition to the Bill, while others such as Cancer Research UK had stated that the Bill required significant modification. For more information on the objections to the Bill see http://www.stopthesaatchibill.co.uk/.
On 6th May 2008, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown voted against a Lords amendment to abolish the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel. The amendment was nonetheless passed by a vote of 378 to 57.
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