Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 10, 2003
Cloning, stem cell bill nears final passage
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
The Catholic bishops of Canada continue to press for changes to long-awaited legislation dealing with cloning, embryonic stem cell research and other new reproductive technologies even as Parliament inches closer to passing the controversial bill.
In a statement Jan. 29, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) urged MPs to strengthen the bill by amending it to prohibit research on human embryos. "By giving the green light to research on embryos who remain after fertility treatments, Bill C-13 fails to protect the human embryo," the statement said.
"The problem with embryonic stem cell research is that while the research has the potential to benefit those living with disease, it actually harms the embryo who dies in the process. Ultimately, the embryo is exploited for the benefit of others."
The CCCB statement also supports the bill's prohibitions on animal/human hybrids, germ-line alteration, and on commercial surrogacy, but calls for strengthening its ban against human cloning to ensure that it "captures all forms and possibilities of cloning."
None of the parties in the Commons are opposed to banning human cloning.
Progressive Conservative MP Elsie Wayne said every member should stand up and say that they will not allow embryonic stem cell research but will allow adult stem cell research. "We will agree to that," she said. "However no way will we take the life of a child for research."
Former Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day said the issue of research on embryonic stem cells is "an ethical and moral dilemma which confronts, bothers and troubles many Canadians." He said the controversy could have been avoided "simply by saying that research and development in this area would be focused on non-embryonic cells."