‘The best pro-life news I’ve heard in 13 years,’ says pro-life leader

The province of Quebec has announced a ban on all destructive research involving human embryos. David Cliche, Quebec’s minister of state for science and technology, unveiled new guidelines on ethical research Jan. 10 in which the creation and use of stem cells extracted from human embryos (resulting in the death of the embryos) is “forbidden.” Moreover, the ban is subject to all research, including that which is privately funded. This puts the province far ahead of many other national and international governments in resisting powerful corporate and ideological pressures to allow the socially dangerous and immoral “research.”

Cliche dismissed a possible conflict with upcoming federal legislation on the matter, which proposes to allow embryonic stem cell research. ‘’There is currently a debate about the possibility of allowing research on human stem cells taken from embryos that were left over from in-vitro fertilization. In Quebec, this is forbidden. It is not practised. We’ll see down the road, but as of now, it is forbidden.”

The guidelines also forbid all human cloning, including cloning supposedly for research purposes only, and the creation of animal-human hybrids or chimeras. The government promoted research of adult stem cells. Many breakthroughs in the area of adult stem cells have come from Quebec.

Quebec researchers and ethicists agreed with the decision. Margaret Somerville, an ethicist at the McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, said she approves of the Quebec position. “I happen to agree with it,” she said, calling it a “respect-for-all-stages-of-life position – from the earliest embryo to when we are dead.” Francois Pothier, a researcher from the University of Laval, told Le Devoir, “Personally, I have too much respect for the human embryo to dismantle it for research ends.” Francois Auger, a director of research at the University of Laval, refuses outright to do research on human embryos because “to create a life for the purpose of curing a life shows disrespect for life.”