Brussels, Belgium, Aug 4, 2014 / 15:34 pm
A European Union citizens' initiative to ban human embryo-destroying research has filed a court petition after being denied a legislative proposal despite acquiring nearly 2 million signatures of support.
"It is not only about the right to life, but firstly about democracy," said Gregor Puppinck, director of the European Centre for Law and Justice.
"One of Us" is a European citizens' initiative that aims to protect the "dignity, the right to life and the integrity of every human being" at all stages of development. The initiative seeks to protect unborn life by halting the funding of embryo-destructive practices by the European Union.
European Union citizens' initiatives are meant to help EU citizens introduce legislation to the EU parliament. In order to be introduced, an initiative must gain 1 million signatures from EU citizens and a minimum number of signatures from at least seven of the 27 EU member states.
The One of Us initiative was the second citizens' initiative ever to receive the required support, gaining 1 million signatures nearly two months before its deadline, and eventually acquiring nearly 2 million signatures in support.
Despite these numbers, however, the European Commission opted in May "not to submit a legislative proposal" on the initiative.
One of Us has now filed a court petition with General Court of the European Union. The petition is directed against the European Commission, the Council of the EU, and the European Parliament for the Commission's decision not to submit the proposal to the other two governmental bodies.
The application argues that the Commission failed to "respond to the assertion that the human embryo is a human being," and that its refusal to present the initiative to the Parliament without legal reasoning violates democratic processes.
Puppinck stated that "the main concern of this application is not primarily the substance of the ONE OF US initiative, but the way in which it has been handled by the European Commission."
He said that the Commission should clarify how citizens' initiatives should be treated and what their purpose is.
Currently, the European Commission states that it objects to the promotion of abortion as a family planning method, but holds that abortion should be "performed in safe conditions" where legal. The European Commission has confirmed that between 2007 and 2013, it spent over $200 million on embryo-destructive research.