Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 23, 2009
Reproduction act should be upheld – bishops
BY DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA — Canada’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act faces an important test before the Supreme Court — and Canada’s Catholic bishops want to make sure it passes.
The act prohibits or limits such activities as human cloning, surrogacy, sex selection, the sale of human eggs or sperm, animal-human hybrids, and in vitro fertilization while promoting health, safety and human dignity.
On April 24, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear an appeal of last June’s Quebec Court of Appeal ruling that put human reproduction under provincial jurisdiction.
In that case the judge ruled that “only the individual safety of the participants in assisted reproduction and the children that result from it require protection.”
The bishops’ conference has joined forces with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada to intervene in the court case.
They will argue that the act reflects the need for common values in Canada and that it should continue to remain a matter of federal jurisdiction.
Their joint affidavit states: “Our living together in community requires a basic trust that human life and dignity, as well as the dignity of human procreation, will be respected and protected uniformly in Canada, across provincial boundaries.”
“The legislation that has been put in place attempts to draw our country together in one particular vision of who we are,” Archbishop James Weisgerber of Winnipeg, president of the bishops’ conference, said in an interview.
“If we are to be a country, a society, we need common values.”
Weisgerber said the act’s values “express what is good for the whole country.”
“It’s an area of our common life that touches on the value of life,” he said.
The joint affidavit states, “The act sets out Canada’s position on the creation of human and nonhuman life, whether human reproductive material can be altered, fertilized, implanted, purchased or destroyed.
“The research, development and use of new reproductive technologies involve national concerns that cut across social, ethical, legal, medical, economic and other considerations and institutions.”
Meanwhile, regulations that would police the so-called “fertility industry” are still being drafted five years after the act’s passage and are pending the results of the upcoming Supreme Court case.