Hepburn for homeopathic horseshit peddlers

Looking at skeptical-voter.org it seems that Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to rational thought.  He’s voted in support of keeping the current abortion time limit at 24 weeks in line with the scientific and medical consensus.  To his credit he’s also supported Early Day Motion (EDM) 377 noting the achievements if Charles Darwin (to be honest a nonsense EDM) and more usefully signed EDM 423 calling for reform of English libel laws.

There’s a but though.  A very big but.  Okay, two.

Note: Before I go further, I’m keenly aware that EDMs are like petitions; they are easy to sign and are mostly pretty harmless, as there is little chance they will ever make law.  However, they are an indication into the thinking of the signing MP and where their allegiances lie.

Back to the bad bits.

First up: Mr Hepburn signed EDM 742, calling for religious based adoption agencies to be excluded from the Equality Act to allow these agencies to discriminate against gay couples.  To clarify, he put his name to an early day motion calling for homophobic bigotry practised by religious agencies to be legislatively normalised.  That’s right people of Jarrow and Hebburn – your MP thought it was fine for religions to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation.

In 2007, Mr Hepburn signed EDM 1240, a kind of EDM for Ignorance – calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals:

“That this House welcomes the positive contribution made to the health of the nation by the NHS homeopathic hospitals; notes that some six million people use complementary treatments each year; believes that complementary medicine has the potential to offer clinically-effective and cost-effective solutions to common health problems faced by NHS patients, including chronic difficult to treat conditions such as musculoskeletal and other chronic pain, eczema, depression, anxiety and insomnia, allergy, chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome; expresses concern that NHS cuts are threatening the future of these hospitals; and calls on the Government actively to support these valuable national assets.”

If you didn’t know, homeopathy is where an active ingredient in a drug is repeatedly diluted to the point where none of the original drug is left, but the water magically holds the ‘memory’ of the active ingredient. The theory is that the active ingredient memory in the water pills will cure the patient but without any nasty side effects. Basically, it’s bunkum, violates several fundamental principles of science, without a shred of credible evidence to support it.

Earlier this year a House of Commons committee inquiry into homeopathy concluded that homeopathy was no more effective than placebos.  That’s right, Hepburn signed up to backing hospitals whose treatments are based on unproven assertions and condemned by authorities such as the World Health Organisation.  There’s a concern that people suffering illnesses may become worse or die because of relying on unproven and unregulated treatments.  That means the money spent on these hospitals he supported wasn’t just wasted, but contributed to ill health and death.  Frankly, Hepburn might as well have signed his support for prayer hospitals or crystal healing.

It’s worrying that an MP would support such woo.

Don’t take my word for it, Dara O’Briain sums up homeopathic woo (hat tip to the The Skeptic) much better than I can.


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