The pro-life movement is constantly reminded of the importance of being vigilant in monitoring what is put before our children in the name of education. A new threat is coming from Canada’s largest university on the topic of embryonic stem cell research, just as we see the fall of Bill C-13.
The Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto has released a “curriculum” to 5,000 high schools across Canada, in what it describes as a “nationwide role-playing exercise.” The curriculum, called “Engage: Stem Cells Resource Package,” provides a framework for students to develop mock legislation governing stem cell research. Teachers are directed to break the students up into several groups of “stakeholders” and a committee. News stories outlining the positions of different “stakeholder groups” are provided, from which the students are supposed to create presentations to the committee representing their assigned group.
What the curriculum doesn’t provide is any dissenting voices on the topic of embryonic stem cell research. The “Protestant” viewpoint is taken only from the Anglican and United churches, with no mention made of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s decidedly anti-ESCR stance. The Catholic position is universally against ESCR, so rather than use any definitive Catholic statements about the issue, the compilers of the project used a welcome speech Pope John Paul II made to George W. Bush, which only peripherally touched on the issue at all, and an obscure article blandly defining the church’s teaching, seriously undermining the strength of the Vatican’s direction on the issue.
Scientists and industry are represented as being uniformly pro-ESCR, despite the fact that there are many scientists who question and outright oppose such research. Worldwide, the pro-life movement has spoken out against embryonic stem cell research. No mention is made of any of these groups’ concerns.
Other problems with the curriculum include outdated and undocumented articles and improperly or vaguely defined terms.
The curriculum gives students a biased view of the issues, which is not surprising, given the source of the document. The Ontario Genomics Institute and the Stem Cell Network, co-sponsors of the project, are heavily invested in getting legislation passed that will allow their scientists to do research on embryos. They, along with the CIHR, have given the Joint Centre for Bioethics millions of dollars to investigate how to make ESCR and related technologies more palatable to the Canadian public. Several large drug companies also turn up as sources of funding for the group, if not of the curriculum directly, solidifying pro-life suspicions that “Big Pharma” is backing the push for ESCR, as they stand to make an untold fortune with ESCR, both through the sale of embryonic stem cell “therapies” and the anti-rejection drugs that will be necessary for anyone who receives those treatments.
Mary Ellen Douglas, national organizer for Campaign Life Coalition, said that with the curriculum being released on what seemed to be the eve of Bill C-13’s success, it appears that pharmaceutical companies, researchers and their lobbyists were surprised at the resistance they found to cloning and stem cell research. They appear to be going after our young people in a bid to make sure they are sufficiently brainwashed and will not protest any further abominations once they are voters.