Embryos: Europe Is Awakening
I have written several times in the past that the strong abortion debate in the United States will unavoidably cause the same discussions to be started in Europe. It’s not that there are no pro-life organisations in Europe, or that the matter is completely absent from the public debate; but certainly we are several steps behind.
This is one of the new European Citizens’ Initiatives aimed at reaching 1 million signatures. When an ECI reaches that objective, its object can be directly brought to the attention of the Commission, which has the power to initiate EU legislation in the matter. I know the idea that you need one million signatures to attract the attention of politicians and technocrats is not really smart, but I think this is made to make clear only those initiatives should be launched which have a real EU breadth and can command the attention of the public in several European countries. The initiatives must also be limited to those matters in which the Commission can propose legislation; which are, as everyone here in the UK knows, far too many.
In this case, if you visit the site you will notice the multi-lingual experience. Whilst in Europe we are undoubtedly less advanced than in the United States, it is beautiful to see how the stronger pro-life movement in the United States starts to cause a certain stir here in the Old (as in: old) Continent.
If you are more technically or legally inclined, you can jump here to read about the decision of the European Court of Justice in the case Bruestle vs Greenpeace (astonishingly, Greenpeace seems to be able to do something good at times…).
I found these lines particularly enlightening:
[Al]though [the EU] seeks to promote investment in the field of biotechnology, use of biological material originating from humans must be consistent with regard for fundamental rights and, in particular, the dignity of the person.” Id. at ¶ 32. Therefore “any human ovum after fertilization, any non-fertilized human ovum into which the cell nucleus from a mature human cell has been transplanted and any non-fertilized human ovum whose division and further development have been stimulated by parthenogenesis constitute a ‘human embryo’ within the meaning of Article 6(2)(c) of the Directive.”
It is a sad reality that for the vast majority of Europeans abortion is a given, a reality of life accepted without question. It will take time before more and more people start to think that this situation must change, and I am very much afraid that the biological factor will play a role as the hippies generation is largely irretrievably lost. Still, it is beautiful to see a new conscience concerning the protection of life emerging.