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Bill wrecked for Diane Blood

30 April 2001
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 105

The Government-backed Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Deceased Fathers) Bill was talked out of time by a Tory MP on Friday. In doing so, Desmond Swayne wrecked the legislation that Diane Blood has been fighting for since the birth of her son Liam.

As the law stands, Mrs Blood, or anyone else who has had a child following posthumous conception, is obliged to declare their child's father as 'unknown' on the birth certificate and all other forms, including passport applications. Mrs Blood has been campaigning to change the law, which affects about 30 children in Britain, so that their fathers can be recognised.

The bill had reached its third reading in the Commons and  had cross party support. Mr Swayne surprised MPs, as well as Diane Blood and her supporters watching in the public gallery, by standing up to speak in the debate at the last minute. He continued speaking until the time ran out. The bill is rescheduled for debate on 11 May but the fact that parliament will soon be dissolved for the run up to the general election means that it has no chance of being passed in the near future.

Mrs Blood has said that she is devastated by the collapse of the bill. She said 'if I could speak to Desmond Swayne, I would say that they called my son a bastard today. How would he feel if it was his own son?' Mr Swayne stated that the bill had wider consequences, especially for the rules which govern embryology, which he has said that he disagrees with. He said 'whoever told Diane Blood that the bill had a chance of getting through did her a disservice'. The bill's sponsor, Labour MP Tony Clarke, called Mr Swayne's tactics an 'abuse of power'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Diane Blood in tears as Tory wrecks birth Bill
The Daily Telegraph |  28 April 2001
Diane Blood looks to Europe in fight over her son's name
The Sunday Telegraph |  29 April 2001
How can you penalise my son for what I did?
The Guardian |  24 April 2001
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