In 2014, the EHF campaigned towards EU decision-makers to oppose One of Us, the new European anti-choice offensive on research and maternal health.
One of Us was a European petition requesting the “protection of the human embryo” in Europe and the end of EU funding for “activities that assume or carry out the destruction of human embryos”. More specifically, it called for the end of EU funding for human embryonic stem cells (hESC) research and for NGOs which provide sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services in developing countries.
Because they reached the required number of signatures – 1 million – to be officially presented to European institutions, the organisors presented their request at the European Parliament (EP) on 10 April 2014, in a public hearing . They were rejected by both the EP and the European Commission, on fair grounds. In spite of this clear opposition, the One of Us organisors turned into a federation and have kept lobbying with similar demands since then.
In 2014, the EHF mobilised with other human rights organisations to oppose this initiative and to guarantee freedom of research in Europe and safeguard SRHR services in developing countries. More specifically, we worked ahead the public hearing to :
- Provide EU decision-makers and citizens with objective and detailed information on One of Us,
- Mobilise pro-choice Members of the European Parliament to speak out against One of Us
- Alert the media on the extremist religious lobbying acting at the EU level.
Behind the European Citizen’s Initiative “One of Us” : 2 popes & 1 million Europeans choose to abandon fight against maternal mortality – EPF
This initiative was funded by the Italian anti-choice organization Fondazione Vita Nova (50 000 euros). It was officially supported by Pope Francis and was represented by Patrick Gregor Puppinck, Director of the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), an Evangelical anti-choice NGO based in Strasbourg (France). The ECLJ is the European part of the American Centre for Law and Justice and has specialized in litigation at the European Court of Human Rights where it attempts to limit recognition of LGBT’s and reproductive rights. Many national “One of Us” partners were local anti-abortion movements and this initiative has received clear support from bishops’ representatives at the European level (COMECE).
Furthermore, the organisers of this initiative misled their supporters with an incorrect reading of the EU treaties and a manipulation of legal instruments, ignoring EU’s commitment to reach Millennium Development Goals.
Read more about the key underlying issues related to “One of Us”:
- What is a European Citizens Initiative?
- What does One of Us want?
- Who is behind One of Us?
- What’s wrong with the legal basis?
- What are the consequences on research?
- What are the consequences on SRHR and maternal health in developing countries?
“Le droit à l’avortement peut-il être remis en cause?” – Forum du Midi- RTBF radio (BE) 10 April
“Embryons humains“ – L’Expresso – Matin première | La Première RTBF 11 April
“Controverse sur le statut de l’embryon. Une initiative citoyenne européenne « anti-choix » auditionnée jeudi“- Le Soir 9 April (article not available online)
“Cellules souches: le progrès menacé par les ténèbres” – Mediapart 8 April