In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Harriet Harman voted to keep the current time limit of 24 weeks in line with the scientific and medical consensus.
In February 2015 Harriet Harman 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.
In 2007, the Labour Humanist Group questioned candidates for the Deputy Leadership position on their views regarding faith schools.
- Question: What do you say to; (a) parents who can’t send their children to a their nearest school because that school discriminates against them on the basis of their religion or belief; (b) to teachers who are discriminated against and barred from thousands of teaching jobs on the basis of their religion or belief?
Harriet Harman responded:
- "We should be tolerant of individuals’ and groups’ rights to their own beliefs, but there is no place for that in any of our public services. We should not condemn religious beliefs through the state – that is absolute – but we should not allow religious beliefs to condemn others through instruments of the state – through schools, through vital local services and through Parliament: as the Labour Humanist Group rightly raises."
- And in making policy, the views of religious groups must be taken into account – but not to override the views of others.
- Faith schools should only be brought into the state system where there is a particular need, and where they unite communities rather than divide. The focus for our schools should be standards, not structures."
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