United Kingdom: A inquiry reviewing abortion law has warned scientists presenting evidence that they must disclose links to faith groups after it was found that religious organisations were trying to influence the result surreptitiously.
At least eight submissions of written evidence have come from medical professionals who have not disclosed their membership of Christian groups opposed to abortion on faith grounds. Six of the doctors are members or activists with the Christian Medical Fellowship, an organisation that has given its own evidence to the inquiry.
Suspicion that contributors had not been transparent about their affiliations has led the clerk of the committee to take the unusual step of writing to all those who gave evidence asking them to disclose their links to any relevant organisations...
Some on the committee are worried that unless witnesses are transparent about their affiliation to anti-abortion groups the inquiry will not be able to properly assess their evidence.
Evan Harris MP, the Liberal Democrats' science spokesperson, said:
This inquiry is specifically about the scientific evidence not moral or religious arguments and our witnesses need to be evidence-led not ideologically or theologically driven. The CMF risk undermining the inquiry by getting people called as expert scientific witnesses when they are not.
Two witnesses who will give evidence today, Chris Richards, a paediatrician and honorary clinical lecturer at Newcastle University, and John Wyatt, a neonatal paediatrician at University College London, are members of CMF, but did not disclose that on their original submission.
Abortion inquiry asks scientists to disclose links to faith groups—The Guardian, 15th October 2007.