OTTAWA, July 9, 2001 ( – The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), an association of 32 Protestant denominations representing just under half of Canada’s estimated 3 million Protestant evangelical Christians, submitted a brief on stem cell research to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) on June 29. The EFC recommends that the government respect and protect human life by not extending funding to stem cell research that results in the destruction of the human embryo.

“Allowing embryonic stem cell research which destroys the embryo treats the human embryo as an object to be utilized, and not as a subject to be respected. We believe it is not appropriate to use this kind of utilitarian calculus to decide if a practice that destroys the embryo is ‘ethical,’” says Bruce Clemenger, Director of EFC’s Centre for Faith and Public Life. “Moral status cannot be granted to an embryo or any other human life on a conditional basis. If there were nothing wrong with destroying human embryos, why then would it be unacceptable to create them for destruction? It is shallow respect indeed that allows the destruction of the embryo in the pursuit of a possible benefit.”

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada notes that promising new research on stem cells from non-embryonic sources can be done. EFC recommends that the CIHR fund this kind of research because it does not destroy or harm human embryos. According to Bruce Clemenger, “Scientists and ethicists acknowledge that the field of embryonic stem cell research is rife with ethical and moral problems. Stem cell research that may yield therapies and possibly even cures for a range of serious illnesses and injuries need not proceed at the expense of embryonic human life.”

The EFC strongly endorses the CIHR’s proposed moratorium on research involving the cloning of embryos and the combination of animal and human stem cells and embryos.

EFC’s brief on human stem cell research is posted on EFC’s web site at: