Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 24, 2004
Stem cell research targeted at rally
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
Choosing life means being opposed to abortion but also protecting the smallest of human beings - the human embryo, Archbishop Marcel Gervais told participants at the national March for Life rally on Parliament Hill May 13.
Speaking to a crowd estimated by police at 2,000, the archbishop said stem cell research could some day lead to the replacement of severed limbs and the repair of damage to spinal cords.
Stem cell research
"We all pray for that day when science can do some of the things that are promised through this research," he said. "However, people are getting the impression that the only source of stem cells is an embryo." But it is not the only source, he added.
"Killing an embryo just because it is a ready source of stem cells when the same could be obtained from adults, from umbilical cords or placentas is simply not morally acceptable."
An embryo is a person even if it is frozen, said the archbishop. "It is not a potential human being but a human being with potential."
Gervais, who gave the blessing at the opening of the rally, was one of several pro-life speakers to address the banner-bearing, placard-waving crowd at the seventh annual March for Life.
"Christians must stand up for the unborn, the elderly, the disabled," said Bruce Clemenger, president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. "In a world where complex scientific jargon can obscure some basic truths, we must stand for life."
Several members of the all-party Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus (PPLC) also addressed the gathering.
Liberal MP Paul Steckle, co-chair of the caucus, said that since abortion laws were relaxed in Canada 35 years ago, 3.5 million children were victims of abortion. If allowed to live "we would have 3.5 million more people in this country, plus their children and their children. So let's not go on killing those children who can become our future."
Conservative Party of Canada MP Cheryl Gallant, noted that the civilized world was "horrified" at the beheading of young American by terrorists in Iraq. She compared the killing to the abortions performed in Canada over 35 years and said it is "absolutely no different."
The crowd was also challenged by CPC MP Jason Kenney to ask politicians how they stand on abortion. "If they say they're personally opposed to abortion but they don't want to impose their opposition on society, ask them if they're personally opposed to child abuse, ask them if they're personally opposed to slavery."
During the event, Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes announced that Liberal MP Paul Szabo is the 2003 winner of the Joseph P. Borowski Award, named after the late pro-life activist from Winnipeg. Hughes, in presenting the award to Szabo, said it is recognition of "integrity and leadership in defending life and family in the public square."
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