OTTAWA, December 4, 2001 ( – Last week the Catholic Archbishop of Halifax, Nova Scotia and a Toronto ethicist made a presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health regarding the draft legislation The Assisted Human Reproduction Act. Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, also the current Chair of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family, and Rev. Ron Mercier made the presentation on behalf of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In the presentation they pointed out that the government's draft legislation “would permit under licence embryonic stem cell research on embryos who remain after fertility treatments, embryos who are called 'spare' or 'surplus'.” They categorically rejected the measure saying, “No amount of public benefit or healing can ever justify the deliberate killing of a human being. No human being, including the embryo, should ever be used as a means to an end; no human being, no matter how tiny, can be killed to help another; no human being should ever be considered as 'surplus' or 'spare'.”

The CCCB presentation pointed out allowing stem cell research on the embryos who remain after fertility treatments is “inadvertently encouraging the creation of extra embryos, thus subverting the very welcome prohibition against creating embryos for research purposes.” The CCCB welcomed the prohibition against all human cloning including so-called therapeutic cloning. Quoting Australian religious leaders the CCCB presentation said that therapeutic cloning “produces a laboratory embryo with no parents or guardians, in fact no one concerned to protect his or her interests.”

See the CCCB website: