Right to life: presentation of the European Citizens’ Initiative “One of Us”

Publié le : 12 February 2013

 Grégor Puppinck, Director of the European Centre of Law and Justice, examines in detail the Citizens’ Initiative launch on 24 December last "to support the recognition in the European Union of the right to life." (The weekly bioethics newsletter from 10th to 14th 2012) The author of this petition is a European MP, Carlo Casini, President of the Italian Movement for Life, supported and joined by "representatives of various European organisations active in the defence of life."

In concrete terms, the European initiative calls on the EU’s institutions to guarantee "the legal protection of the dignity, the right to life and to physical integrity of every human being from conception in the areas of EU competence where such protection is of particularly importance.". To this end, it proposes two objectives:

– The first objective is "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.". Currently, "the European Union is negotiating […] its policy on scientific research for the period 2014-2020."  However, "the proposals presented by the European Commission in the context of the ‘Horizon 2020’ programme no longer mention the commitment that it made in 2006 in the context of the framework research programme (2007-2013) currently under way, which was not to submit to the Regulation Committee any proposal for a project involving research activities leading to the destruction of human embryos, including the supplying of stem cells." Thus, the initiative called "One of Us" proposes a modification of the regulations of the next framework research programme, ‘Horizon 2020’, “in order to add to its article 16 relating to ‘ethical principles’ a new criterion excluding from European funding any research that involves the destruction of human embryos."            
– The second objective is "to ban any public European funding of abortion, in particular via the policy for aid to development and public health." In point of fact, between 2005 and 2011, several associations "promoting and practising abortions on a grand scale within establishments that they themselves manage" have admitted that they received EU grants. "Since 2011 only, the general budget of the EU formally prohibits the funding of organisations that support or are involved in abortion or forced sterilisation programmes (current notably in China and India)." Hence, "the ‘One of Us’ initiative aims at extending this formal prohibition on funding any type of abortion, forced or not, by getting the European Union to set up a mechanism for monitoring the funds that it grants to nongovernmental organisations in order to prevent the funding of any organisation involved in carrying out abortions.
 

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