Pope Benedict XVI has thrown his support behind a Europe wide initiative to stop the EU financing abortion or practises which destroy human embryos.
The ‘One of Us” campaign is using an instrument of democracy, the
European citizens’ initiative (ECI), to invite the European Commission
to propose legislation to end the financing of activities which involve
the destruction of human embryos in the areas of research, development
aid and public health.
To succeed it has to have the support (signatures) of at least one
million EU citizens, coming from at least 7 out of the 27 member states
by 1st November 2013. ‘One of Us’ is one of the first registered ECIs in
the European Union.
Irish citizens can back the initiative by logging on to www.oneofus.eu
and signing the petition. To be eligible, the citizen must be entitled
to vote in EU elections. A person may only sign once, and must provide
their name, address and date of birth.
A recent judgement of the European Court of Justice (Brüstle vs.
Greenpeace), defined the human embryo as the beginning of the
development of the human being.
The ‘One of Us’ campaign, backed by
over 30 Europe wide Pro Life groups, is said to have a “greater
political potential than any other initative that has been undertaken so
far to protect the dignity of the person and life from conception at a
European scale,” according to its website.
“If a consensus will be achieved among 1 Million citizens or more, a
concrete ethical standard could be established across Europe with
regards to the respect of the dignity of each member of the human
family, no matter how young it is.”
As well as banning the financing of projects which destroy embryos,
backers of the campaign say it will bring a strong awareness “of the
need to respect the wish of so many European citizens”.
“Furthermore, jurisdiction at the European Court of Human Rights,
where many bioethical cases are pending, could be positively
influenced,” says its website.
Last Sunday Pope Benedict XVI said he prayed for the success of the
‘One of Us’ project “so that Europe will always be a place where the
dignity of every human being is protected”.
The initiative, begun by Italian MEP and President of the Italian Pro
life movement Carlo Casini, was registered with the European
Commission on 11th May 2012. It has until 1st November 2013 to collect
one million signatures.
The Initiative proposes an end to the financing of activities that
involve the destruction of human embryos, in particular in the area of
research, and a ban on all public European financing of abortion, in
particular via the aid policy for the development of public health.
In principle, abortion is the exclusive remit of Member States and
not the European Union, but between 2007 and 2013 the EU granted 86
million euro to programmes intended to improve “the genetic and sexual
health of the population”, in developing countries.
In this way both
Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes International have both received
millions of euro in public European Commission grants.