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Research into human embryo at the National Assembly: "To keep to the rules, let's change the rules"

Published on 08/27/2013 in Press releases


Wednesday 27 March 2013

On the eve of its passing before a public session at the National Assembly, the draft law aimed at eliminating the research prohibition on research into the human embryo, the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation condemns the real motivation behind the defenders of the draft: continuing to flaunt compliance with the law.

During last Wednesday's Committee on Social Affairs (see the release of 20 March 2013), and the debates and at the Senate in December, the "legal insecurity" argument was touted by the political representatives of certain researchers who use the human embryo, claiming to be the victims of legal recourse action taken by the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation against illegal research protocols.

THE FACTS – The law prohibits research on the human embryo in France. It tolerates exceptions being granted according to two main criteria (with the need for the claimant to provide proof):

  • therapeutic progress has to be important
  • the work cannot be performed unless using a human embryo

At as early as 2006, the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation saw that some exceptions were granted by the Biomedicine Agency (ABM) although the conditions were not

The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation therefore challenged several illegal decisions in the courts. On 10 May 2012, the Administrative Court of Appeals approved the case put by the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation regarding an initial claim, while 10 proceedings are still pending decision. For the first claim, it was possible to avoid the use of the human embryo in the research work in question. The reprogrammed cells (iPS), discovered by Nobel prize-winner Yamanaka, apparently produce the same results. The Foundation gave scientific proof of the fact. Observation validated by the Court of Appeals.

THE ULTIMATE IRONY – apparently, people violating the law are in an illegal situation hence "the legal insecurity" they are complaining about! That recourse action taken against some of the ABM authorisation decisions are insufficient to justify a change of the law as it stands unless we consider that it is simply necessary to change the rules to be in-line with them. What can we say about a Republic where a law is changed to fit the bill, to fit the bill of certain researchers to escape justice, author of the bill of certain pharmaceutical laboratories completely untouched by the merchandising of the human being?

The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation appeals to the political responsibility of those who are about to deliberate on this matter: the French bioethics law must not suffer from people to satisfy ultra-liberalism and incomprehensible libertarianism in a Republic which is supposed to be faultless. In the word bioethics there is also the word ethics, priority given to the human over the technical. That is what the interdiction was about, even with its exceptions. Inverting with this hierarchy of values is bound to have consequences.

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