July 6, 2022

France bans plastinated body exhibits

Contrary to human dignity, says high court

France has become the first country to ban
the controversial Our Body exhibits, which displays plastinated corpses
stripped of their skin in grotesque poses.?The Cour de Cassion, the nation’s
highest judicial authority, has ruled that “the exposure of corpses for
commercial purposes” violates the Civil Code, which states that “the
remains of deceased persons should be treated with respect, dignity and

Legal experts were surprised. This had been
the reason alleged by the first body to ban the exhibit, the National Advisory
Committee on Ethics. But when this decision was appealed, two courts supported
it but sidestepped the dignity issue. They said that the ban should stand
because the bodies could have been those of executed criminals from China. The
Cour de Cassion returned to the more fundamental issue.

Two protest groups have been fighting to
get the exhibition banned for the past two years, since it was first held in
Lyon in 2008.

To date, the organisers claim, more than 30
million people have viewed the exhibit on its tours around the world. ~ AFP, Sept 17;
Sept 17

Michael Cook
human dignity