Liberal MP Paul Szabo (Mississauga South), an outspoken and active pro-life parliamentarian, has written a book on The Ethics and Science of Stem Cells.

Szabo told The Interim he wrote the book “To promote discussion among parliamentarians and the public about this very important and timely topic.”

It was distributed to all MPs and senators and is available to anyone who requests a copy.

As the title makes clear, there are two key components to the issue of stem cell research: the science and the ethics. As the 120-page book makes clear, both science and ethics point to the advantage of using adult (somatic) stem cells for research.

Szabo notes that despite media misrepresentations to the contrary, non-embryonic stem cells, which occur naturally in most organs in the body, are either already being used in treatments (bone marrow transplants are a form of stem cell treatment), clinical trials or are closer to clinical trials whereas reports of embryonic stem cell research successes (mostly on mice) are misleading (at best). In fact, the trials of non-adult stem cells resulted in severe injury to the patients being treated. Another medical advantage of using adult stem cells is that the patient can often be his or her own donor, resulting in less chance for rejection of rejuvenated organs.

Szabo exhaustively lists the advantages of adult stem cells and dangers of embryonic ones. But whether or not adult stem cell research was the more promising route to successful treatments, the Liberal MP rightly argues that using embryos as fodder for research is wrong, plain and simple.

He said that despite the opportunities to alleviate pain and suffering, “we do have a responsibility to establish ethical limits to research,” adding, “When the ethically unacceptable and the scientifically possible are in conflict, ethics must prevail.”

The science may be complex but the principles are not. If the minds of legislators, scientists and the public could understand that, there would be no need for this book.

For anyone who wants to delve into the issue, Szabo’s book is a perfect primer. To order your free copy of The Ethics and Science of Stem Cells, call (613) 992-4848 or (905) 822-878 or email