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The regulation of science and the Charter of Rights: Would a ban on non-reproductive human cloning unjustifiably violate freedom of expression?

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Non-Reproductive Human Cloning (NRHC) allows researchers to develop and clone cells, including non-reproductive cells, and to research the etiology and transmission of disease. The ability to clone specific stems cells may also allow researchers to clone cells with genetic defects and analyze those cells with more precisions. Despite those potential benefits, Parliament has banned such cloning due to a myriad of social and ethical concerns. In May 2002, the Canadian Government introduced Bill C-13 on assisted human reproductive technologies. Bill C-13 deals with both the scientific and the clinical use of human reproductive materials, and it prohibits a number of other activities, including NRHC. Although the Supreme Court of Canada has never ruled on whether scientific experiments are a form of expression, academic support exists for this notion. The authors go through the legal analysis that would be required to find that scientific experiments are expression, focusing in part on whether NRHC could be considered violent and thus fall outside the protection of section 2(b). The latter question is complicated by the ongoing policy debate over whether an \"embryonic cell\" is property or human life. The authors then consider whether a ban on NRHC could be justified under section 1 of the Charter. They conclude that both the breadth of the legislative purpose and the proportionality of the measure are problematic. Proportionality is a specific concern because the ban could be viewed as an outright denial of scientific freedom of expression. Although consistent with current jurisprudence on freedom of expression, this paper runs against the flow of government policy in the areas of regulation and prohibition of non-reproductive human cloning. As there has been no Charter litigation to date on whether scientific research is a form of expression, the authors introduce a new way of looking at the legality of the regulation of new reproductive technologies.

  • Date created
    2004
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R30863K93
  • License
    © 2004 B. Billingsley, T. Caulfield, and the Queen's Law Journal. Archived with permission.
  • Language
  • Citation for previous publication
    • Billingsley, B., & Caulfield, T. (2004). The regulation of science and the Charter of Rights: Would a ban on non-reproductive human cloning unjustifiably violate freedom of expression? Queen’s Law Journal, 29(2), 647-679. Retrieved from http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/queen29&div=26&g_sent=1&collection=journals
  • Link to related item
    http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/queen29&div=26&g_sent=1&collection=journals