Paris, Thursday 11 July 2012
Four French associations* have joined forces under the European label "One of us" and are demanding that the MPs defend the dignity of living human beings against any research liable to cause their destruction. They denounce the way the destiny of deep frozen human embryos is being put to the vote of the National Assembly, on the sly and without debate. One of us in just a few weeks, compiled more than 730,000 signatures of European citizens, including 65,000 in France, to protect the human embryo.
"No to vivisection of human embryos" - "dissected embryos, disfigured humanity": by a spectacular scenographic effort, the One of us community demonstrated on 11 July, at the same time as the deliberations and immediately next to the National Assembly in a protest against the injustice inflicted on embryos submitted to experimental processes and leading to their destruction.
Far from being a purely scientific and technical subject, research into the embryo is above all a matter of ethics and is eminently political. This law disrupts a fundamental principle of our society which protects the human embryo in the name of integrity and the protection of the human body from sale as merchandise.
It is also scientifically unjustifiable: major breakthroughs confirm that research into the embryo is pointless. Beyond adult stem cells and blood from the umbilical cord already used for treatments, reprogrammed cells known as iPS** are particularly promising. In particular, after the announcement made by the Japanese government last spring to make a massive investment into reprogrammed cells, clinical tests will be authorised in mid July.
Now that the international scientific community is focusing its human and financial efforts into these new ethical and efficient technologies, how are we to understand France's persistence in a process that not only runs counter to ethics and to the common good, but is also directly opposed to scientific developments?
For the One of us group, European and national efforts to the benefit of respect for animals, making research into animals more demanding and costly, should not be to the detriment of the human embryo. *Alliance VITA, the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, la Confédération Nationale des Associations Familiales Catholiques and the Comité Protestant évangélique pour la Dignité Humaine have all joined forces in France, under the name Un de nous (One of us):
1. to contest the French draft law, supported by the government and without calling on the participative process of the General Counsel, to explicitly authorised research into the embryo with more easy-going conditions than the waivers granted by the bioethics law of 2011.
2. to gather the greatest number of signatures, as part of the European citizen-oriented initiative to protest against the European Union's funding of research into the human embryo (Objective for the European Union: 1 million signatures duly registered in October 2013).
**Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells : cells discovered by Pr Yamanaka and for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2012.
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