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European Prolife Campaign ‘One of Us’ Registered by European Commission

Grégor Puppinck - published on 02/06/13 - updated on 06/07/17

In order to be submitted to the Commission, the citizen initiative must obtain at least one million signatures, originating from at least one quarter of the total of Member States before November 1st 2013. Any citizen of a Member State of the EU which is of voting age can support the initiative online on the website or using a written form.

Below is a more detailed explanation of the objectives being pursued by the initiative and their context.

1. The first objective is to prohibit and put an end to the financing of activities that involve the destruction of human embryos, in particular in the area of research

The European Union is currently negotiating its scientific research policy for the period 2014-2020, (a framework programme for research and innovation called “Horizon 2020”), which is provided for by a budget of 90 billion euro and which is destined to support growth and innovation of the European Union. However, the proposals presented by the European Commission in the framework of the “Horizon 2020” programme no longer mention the commitment undertaken in 2006, within the framework of the programme on research currently in operation (2007-2013), to not submit to the council of the Regulation“any project proposal composed of research activities involving the destruction of human embryos, including the provision of stem cells”. On the contrary, the proposal in “Horizon 2020” foresees in a general way that the “research activities on human stem cells, adult or embryonic, (could) be financed in accordance with, both the contents and the scientific proposals and the legal framework of the Member States concerned” (Article 16, paragraph 4) and does not exclude explicitly those activities which are likely to lead to the destruction of embryos.

The initiative may avail of reasoning adopted by the European Court of Justice in the case of Brüstle v. Greenpeace (C-34/10) on the 18th of October, 2011. In this case, the judges of Luxembourg defined the human embryo as an organism “capable of the commencing the process of development of a human”, whatever the mode of procurement of this organism (IVF, cloning, etc). The Court of Justice also aligned law with science, in recognising that human life begins at conception, and that it deserves legal protection from the moment of conception, in particular with regard to the principles of respect for bodily integrity and human dignity. It is in light of this protection that patenting must be excluded from all processes that bring about the destruction of a human embryo through the use of a sample of stem cells obtained from the embryo.  

The initiative “One of Us” proposes a change to the regulation of “Horizon 2020” so as to add to Article 16, relating to “ethics principles”, a new standard precluding the European financing of research which involves the destruction of human embryos. Likewise, it is asked to include in the regulation of the Council (CE, Euratom) 2002/1605 of the 25th of June, concerning the financial regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Union, a “consistency principle” according to which no European Union funds could be linked to activities which destroyed human embryos or presuppose their destruction.

2. The second objective of the initiative is to forbid all public European financing of abortion, in particular via the aid policy for the development of public health.

In principle, abortion falls within the exclusive competence of Member States and not the European Union, and as a result, the European Union is not supposed to promote abortion. However, between 2007 and 2013 the European Union granted 86 million euro to programmes intended to improve “

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