Human embryos to have human rights from first heartbeat?

The Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg has rejected the initiative from notorious deputy Vitaly Milonov, who offered to grant rights to human embryos from the moment of first heartbeat. The deputy put forward such a bizarre initiative in an effort to protect the interests of unborn children. It took the MPs more than one hour to discuss the bill, but they failed to come to a consensus. Seven deputies voted for the initiative, three abstained, 19 members of the parliament voted against it, said.

"Six members supported me, they didn't get cold feet. We tried to bring our legislation closer to the legislation of European countries. But it appears that it's easier to build abortion clinics than kindergartens," the Chairman of the Legislation Committee of the city parliament Vitaly Milonov said.

At least 16 members of the parliament preferred not to express their opinion on the matter. Everyone else was very determined, the Rossiyskaya Gazeta wrote. Deputy Vyacheslav Notyag said that once the new initiative was adopted, masturbation would have to be considered criminal offense. Marina Shishkina added that it would be more like cannibalism. The communists of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region reminded the "human rights activist" that the soul was eternal, so one could hand out passports to every egg and sperm cell.

Deputies also reproached Milonov for his ignorance of the issue from the point of view of medicine. Human embryos under 22 weeks are considered nonviable outside the womb. This is international practice, confirmed by the decision of the World Health Organization, which recognized the notion  "child" for infants over 22 weeks on condition that a "child" weighs not less than 500 grams.

"How and who will be establishing the presence of heartbeat, which the bill talks about? - the chairwoman of the Committee for Social Policy and Public Health of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg, Lyudmila Kostkina said. - Someone hears a pulse as early as at four to five weeks. But it is not a heart yet," she added. Kostkina is confident that the bill violates the rights of women. "Based on the proposed amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, it just so happens that women have no rights, they simply act as an incubator," Kostkina added.

Deputy Alexander Kobrinsky also drew his colleagues' attention to the problem. He reminded the MPs that there was either illegal business in this area, or the so-called "abortion tourism" in the countries where abortion is prohibited.

Prior to the discussion of the bill, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg, Vyacheslav Makarov, said that "such initiatives as the end of the world, etc. do not improve the authority of our parliament."

Vitaly Milonov, a St. Petersburg deputy for United Russia ruling party, is known for his controversial initiatives. He is the man behind the bill against the promotion of "sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism to minors" in St. Petersburg. Milonov cracked down on pop singer Madonna during her stop in St. Petersburg. According to Milonov, Madonna arrived in the city to promote homosexual lifestyle at her show. The singer indeed defended the rights of homosexual individuals during her concert in St. Petersburg, which gave Milonov a reason to claim that the pop diva violated the city law that prohibited the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov