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The fate of Canadian legislation that would provide one of the world's most comprehensive regulatory frameworks for assisted reproduction and human embryo research is hanging in the balance as the country's Parliament begins its fall session.

The pending legislation, known as the Human Reproduction Bill, or C-13, is based on an extensive process of feminist advocacy, public consultation, and democratic deliberation going back more than fifteen years. Its key provisions-including bans on human reproductive and research cloning, inheritable genetic modification, commercial surrogacy, and "non-medical" sex selection-enjoy broad public approval, the official backing of major Canadian scientific organizations, and strong support among lawmakers.

But C-13 may nonetheless fail to come to a vote. Its future is uncertain because the right-wing Canadian Alliance and some MPs from the ruling Liberal Party object to the part of the bill that allows regulated research on embryos that were created in the course of fertility procedures. Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and Health Minister Anne McLellan, themselves Liberals, support C-13. But the Government has been reluctant to bring it to a vote unless its passage...