May 20, 2024

EU petition could derail human embryo research

An international coalition of pro-life groups has garnered 1.5 million signatures on a petition to ban destructive embryo research in the European Union.

A controversial decision about embryos in the European Court of Justice which was initiated by Greenpeace could have far-reaching consequences. In Brüstle vs. Greenpeace in 2011, the ECJ set down that certain inventions related to human embryonic stem cells could not be patented.

Based on this a coalition of pro-life groups called One of Us has gathered 1.5 million signatures on a citizen’s initiative calling for an end to embryo research.

The citizen’s initiative is a new complication in the byzantine ways of the European Union participatory democracy. If a petition gathers at least 1 million signatures from at least seven countries, the European Commission must consider legislation.

There is no guarantee that the EU will pass a law, but a successful petition will place considerable pressure on the politicians. The organisers hope that their momentum will convince the EU that many of its citizens have firm pro-life views. Even if no ban on embryo research results, the experience of the campaign will be useful for future initiatives.

It states:

The human embryo deserves respect to its dignity and integrity. This is enounced by the ECJ in the Brüstle case, which defines the human embryo as the beginning of the development of the human being. … the EU should establish a ban and end the financing of activities which presuppose the destruction of human embryos, in particular in the areas of research, development aid and public health.

Michael Cook
Creative commons
European Union
stem cell research