Canadian Cloning Ban That Allows Destructive Research is Stalled

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 10, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canadian Cloning Ban That Allows Destructive Research is Stalled

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 10, 2003

Ottawa, Canada ( — Pro-life members of Parliament are filibustering a proposed ban on human cloning that allows for destructive embryonic stem cell research and supporters of the legislation are frustrated as a result.

"We have been debating this for over a decade and it’s time we put it to the vote," said geneticist Patricia Baird, who headed the 1993 Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies.

The Canadian Parliament debated the bill on Monday but it was pulled halfway through the debate when pro-life MPs filibustered because of a provision in the bill that would allow "leftover" embryos from in-vitro fertilization to be killed and used for research.

Liberal backbencher Paul Szabo led the filibuster and twelve other members, mostly of the Canadian Alliance, joined him in speaking against the bill. "I think they were surprised at how many speakers I had," he said.

Canada currently has no law regulating stem cell research or prohibiting either reproductive human cloning or the clone and kill process where scientists create human embryos to be killed for their stem cells.

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Health minister Anne McLellan have made the bill one of their top legislative priorities though Paul Martin, who has been selected to replace Chrétien, has not yet taken a stand on the bill.

Though pro-life MPs are opposing the bill, a coalition of members of the Liberals and New Democrats (NDP) say they support the legislation. House leader Don Boudri said the legislation will eventually be approved.

"It will get it through," Boudri told the Canadian Press.