The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is concerned by the majority decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on 22 December 2010 which ruled as unconstitutional a number of clauses in the present Assisted Human Reproduction Act. The results of this ruling are not yet fully clear, but the risk is that human procreation will more and more be considered merely a question of health and individual safety, rather than an important ethical issue. The Catholic Bishops of Canada consider respect for, and the protection of the human embryo, fundamental considerations.
The Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies in its 1993 report had recognized that “The research, development and use of new reproductive technologies involve national concerns that cut across social, ethical, legal, medical, economic and other considerations and institutions.”
In a joint written argument which was submitted to the Supreme Court of Canada in this case in April 2009, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada made the following points:
- Assisted human procreation is not simply an issue of health care but a profound question that involves the common good, the sanctity of human life, and the protection of the vulnerable;
- Biotechnology raises broad moral, ethical and social issues that are in the public interest to control;
- Biotechnology has the serious potential to devalue human life and to undermine the principles of human dignity.
An analysis of the 22 December decision by the Court will be released by the CCCB offices during January 2011.
May the festivities celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ encourage all of us in protecting the wonder and dignity of each human life and all human life.