Canadian stem cell bill passed

Quick Senate approval before Parliament goes into recess is unlikely

Ed Ungar(
Oct 29, 2003

After 10 years of gestation, the Canadian House of Commons has passed legislation that bans somatic cell nuclear transfer to create new stem cell lines but that allows researchers to derive stem cells from discarded embryos from fertility clinics. The Assisted Human Reproduction Act (C-13) was approved by a vote of 149 to109 on Tuesday night (October 28).

The bill will now go to the Canadian Senate, which is an appointed body whose role is to provide "sober second thought" to all bills passed by the House of Commons. The Senate cannot veto a bill passed by the House, but it can delay and amend a law.

"Our committee will take a thorough and fair look at the bill," Senator Michael Kirby, chairman of the Senate's Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee, told The Scientist.

Canadian researchers have been clamoring for legislative guidance on the prospects for stem cell...