GENEVA, May 25, 2001 ( – Last week, at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, Canadian Health Minister Allan Rock volunteered Canada to take the lead in an “international effort” to curb abuses of “human dignity” involving unchecked New Reproductive Technologies (NRT). While Rock expressed noble sentiments, the Canadian government’s own record on regulation of NRT abuses is considered by many to be abysmal. In addition, the Liberal government’s militant pro-abortion record is also considered evidence that it would not be a sincere protector of the ‘human dignity’ of early human life.

Canada is one of the few countries without a law restricting or regulating NRT. Despite a 5-year, $28 million Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies ending in 1993, which recommended the urgent need for legislation on the issue, nothing has been accomplished in Canada until now. As evidence about developments such as cloning, genetically modified animals and gross human embryo manipulation has continued to grow, Dr. Patricia Baird, who chaired the Royal Commission, repeatedly urged for legislation.

During his presentation Rock noted, “Canada is now considering a national law that would ban practices such as human cloning, germ-line alteration, gender selection and the creation of embryos solely for the purpose of research and commercial surrogacy.” The proposed legislation would be a considerable change from the current state of lawlessness but is undermined by such things as the contradictory approval of the use of human embryos for stem cell harvesting.

Rock said “a collective international effort is also necessary to prevent unethical practitioners from ‘country shopping’ for opportunities to pursue unethical practices.” A seeming case of a ‘country shopping’ mad scientist who was welcomed in Canada was that of now McGill University professor Roger Gosden. Gosden, formerly of Leeds University in Britain, pioneered a procedure using the ova of aborted baby girls in fertility treatments before his research was criminalized in England. Gosden took up his new post in Canada noting his disgust with Britain’s “more cautious attitude toward science and technology.” British MP Dame Jill Knight, who was instrumental in criminalizing Gosden’s research, commented that it was “the stuff of nightmares,” and noted that children born of his intended procedures would be told that they had come “from a dead mother, a mother … that was never actually born at all.”

For earlier stories on Gosden see:

See Allan Rock’s speech to the WHA at:

See LifeSite’s report on Rock’s proposed NRT bill:


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