Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 29, 2002
Technology bill could die again
Cloned baby rumours spark urgent debate
By ART BABYCH
"Scientists claimed to have already implanted cloned embryos in women."
- Rob Merrifield
However, government house leader Ralph Goodale, says he expects the House to sit through the middle of June and that parliament will not likely prorogue until the fall. The House is scheduled to adjourn for the summer on June 21.
The government introduced Bill C-47, legislation that would have banned 13 of the technologies, in June of 1996, but it died on the order paper after Prime Minister Jean Chretien called a spring election in 1997.
Catholic Church organizations in Canada had urged the government to pass the legislation quickly in response to recommendations of the 1993 report of the Royal Commission on Reproductive Technologies, which took four years of study and cost $28 million.
The commission called for a ban on 13 new reproductive technologies including human cloning, sex selection clinics, surrogate motherhood and the sale of human eggs, sperm, embryos, fetuses or fetal tissue.
In May 2001, Health Minister Allan Rock unveiled new draft legislation and asked the Standing Committee on Health to conduct hearings and to submit a report by the end of January 2002.
The committee handed down its report last December that included a recommendation research be allowed on human embryos remaining after fertility treatments.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said it was disappointed, adding, "No amount of healing or good can justify the deliberate killing of a human being or using a human being as a means to an end."
Merrifield said it is "imperative" that legislation on cloning and research on human embryos be debated in the House as soon as possible.
"Early last week it was reported that the first cloned baby was on its way," he told the House. "Late last week, scientists linked to a group in Quebec claimed to have already implanted zcloned embryos in women. If they are experimenting here, there is no federal law to stop them."
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