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The Catholic Women’s League of Canada BC & Yukon Provincial Council National theme: One Heart, One Voice, One Mission Provincial theme: Joyfully Serving the Lord

RESOLUTION BC 2011.02


BC Respect and Protection for Human Embryos and Human Reproductive Material


Whereas, provincial and territorial governments now need statutes and/or regulations for the handling of human embryos, reproductive material, and licensing due to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision (Dec. 2010) which deemed sections of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (2004) as unconstitutional and under provincial jurisdiction; and

Whereas, the lack of statutes and regulations could lead to the mishandling of human reproductive material and the abuse of human embryos which deserve respect and protection; therefore be it

Resolved, that the BC & Yukon Council of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada urge the BC and Yukon governments to implement regulations that would provide protection and respectful standards in the handling of human embryos, and regulations on the handling of human reproductive material, and licensing.

BRIEF: BC2011.02 Respect and Protection for Human Embryos and Human Reproductive Material

The Supreme Court of Canada (Dec. 2010) ruled on the constitutional challenge by the Quebec government regarding The Assisted Human Reproduction Act (2004) (the Act). The ruling deemed Sections 10, 11, 13, 14 to 18, 40(2)(3)(3.1)(4)(5) and 44(2)(3) as exceeding legislative authority of Parliament thus agreeing these were under provincial jurisdiction. (McLachlin et all) Due to the Supreme Court ruling, provinces and territories that lack statutes or regulations now need them for the handling of human embryos, reproductive material and licensing.

Since human embryos are total, unique human beings that only need time for complete development, they deserve respectful handling and protection. As well, reproductive material must not be treated as commodities but require regulations and licensing. The Act defines human reproductive material as “a sperm, ovum or other human cell or a human gene, and includes a part of any of them.” (the Act, section 3) . Since these sections of the Act are now deemed to be under provincial jurisdiction, the lack of statutes and/or regulations could lead to abuses of human embryos and human reproductive material which could include exporting, importing, research and destruction. (section 10, 11, 13, 14, 16(3), 18, 40(2)(3)(3.1)).

We urge the BC and Yukon governments to implement regulations immediately that would provide protection and respectful standards in the handling of human embryos, and regulations for the handling of reproductive material as well as all the licensing required. Through our National Council we ask that all Provincial Councils bring this to their own provincial and territorial governments asking that immediate efforts be made by these governments to meet and develop consistent and respectful regulations throughout the country in regards to the handling of human embryos, reproductive material and licensing.

Our society has a responsibility to take immediate action. To quote His Grace Archbishop Richard Smith, “We’re talking about a fundamental question of life itself and dignity of human life, this is a consideration that transcends provincial and national boundaries.” (Gyapong)

REFERENCES: BC2011.02 Respect and Protection for Human Embryos and Human Reproductive Material

Assisted Human Reproduction Act 2004

Gyapong, Deborah, Supreme Court ruling casts out genetic research barriers, Western Catholic Reporter, January 17th, 2011

McLachlin C.J. and Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish, Abella, Charron, Rothstein and Cromwell JJ. Supreme Court of Canada Decision re Assisted Human Reproduction Act 2004

ACTION PLAN:

All members write letters to their governments:

Asking them to implement regulations to protect human embryos and to develop respectful standards for the handling of human reproductive material and all licensing required;

Asking them to convene consultative meetings with their provincial counterparts to develop consistent and respectful national regulations in the handling of human embryos, reproductive material and all the licensing required.

Send copies of letters to your MLA and MP.



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