OTTAWA, October 31, 2003 ( – Jacques Berthelet, Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil and out-going President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued a statement on the passage by the House of Commons of Bill C-13, An Act Respecting Assisted Human Reproduction.  The statement takes a neutral stand on the legislation saying “we have recognized that there is much in the proposals that could be supported” but also noting it is “deeply flawed.”

In effect, all the heroic MPs and Senators who are now working to stop Senate approval of the bill have been deprived by the statement of critically needed active support from the leader of the Canadian Bishop’s organization.  Canadian pro-life leaders have responded with dismay to the statement. Concern is being expressed that the justification for the Bishop’s neutral stand appears to be based on a selective quoting of Vatican guidelines. Mary Ellen Douglas of Campaign Life Coalition stated “No matter what good there possibly is in Bill C-13, no amount of good can cover the evil that’s in there with the sanction of destructive research on human embryos.”  Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes said of the bishop’s statement, “Imagine the CCCB bureaucrats coming out with a similar statement if we were discussing the lives of Jewish people rather than embryos.’  See the complete LifeSite Special report on this development at