What’s wrong with the legal basis of the “One of Us” European Citizens’ Initiative?

What’s wrong with the legal basis of the “One of Us” European Citizens’ Initiative?

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In order to push forward its anti-choice conservative agenda, One of Us has ignored the long-established EU development policy and manipulated the jurisprudence of the EU Court of Justice.

Faulty legal interpretation of the Court of Justice of the EU’s ruling on human embryos

“One of Us” extensively relies on the 2011 “Oliver Brüstle v. Greenpeace” decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) which ruled that patent protection for inventions based on human embryonic stem cells (hESC) was forbidden in the EU and gave an extensive definition of the human embryo. According to CJEU’s ruling, any human egg cell must, as soon as fertilized, be regarded as human embryo since fertilization commences the process of development of a human being.

However, in its ruling, the CJEU clearly stated that the definition it gave of the human embryo was limited to the area of the patentability of biotechnological inventions and could not apply to other areas:

As regards the meaning to be given to the concept of ‘human embryo’ set out in Article 6(2)(c) of the Directive, it should be pointed out that, although, the definition of human embryo is a very sensitive social issue in many Member States, marked by their multiple traditions and value systems, the Court is not called upon, by the present order for reference, to broach questions of a medical or ethical nature, but must restrict itself to a legal interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Directive [Directive 98/44/EC on Legal protection of biotechnological inventions]” (par.30)

it must be pointed out that the purpose of the Directive is not to regulate the use of human embryos in the context of scientific research. It is limited to the patentability of biotechnological inventions.” (par.40)

The Attorney General also underlined it in its final remarks: “the definition of the human embryo in the framework of the patent right is not comparable with the definition of the human embryo in other areas, explicitly with regard to the termination of pregnancy that needs to take into account the individual’s situation of conflict”?

Contrary to what One of Us argues, this definition of the human embryo can neither apply to research on the human embryo (only to its patentability) nor to SRHR.

One of Us is at odds with long-established EU development policy and EU international commitments

If One of us becomes law, the European union would be unable to match the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) it has committed to and especially MDG 5 to improve maternal health in developing countries.

It would also have to cut its support to its international commitments related to maternal health ( 2010 UN Secretary General’s Plan on Maternal and Child Healt, 2010 G8 Muskoka Commitments on Maternal and Child health funding.

EU funding on maternal health is based on the EU competence in international development cooperation, which is outlined in Article 208 of the Lisbon Treaty: “the Member States shall comply with the commitments and take account of the objectives they have approved in the context of the United Nations and other competent international organizations,” namely the Millennium Development Goals.

This EU commitment is also reaffirmed in the “European Consensus on Development” of 2005: “the EU is seeking to meet the Millennium Development Goals, to which all the UN member states subscribe.”

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Legal Analysis of One Of Us by IPPF