European Court of Justice Decision Does Not Protect All Unborn Life

Posted on Oct 24, 2011

In a case before the European Court of Justice, the court recently decided that a human embryo is an organism “capable of commencing the process of development of a human being” whether they are the result of fecundation, or the product of cloning. The Court went on to say, “a non-fertilised human ovum into which the cell nucleus from a mature human cell has been transplanted and a non-fertilised human ovum whose division and further development have been stimulated by parthenogenesis must also be classified as a ‘human embryo’.”

Father Shenan J. Boquet, President of Human Life International, released the following statement today on the recent decision by the European Court of Justice to restrict the patenting of embryonic stem cell technologies in certain cases:

“While the European Court of Justice’s decision is welcome news, we have to be careful not to overstate its significance. What the court decided is that patents could not be issued for stem cells when those cells are derived from human embryos and the embryo is destroyed in the process. As we understand it, this ruling amounts to a preliminary judgment in the area of intellectual property, and still leaves open certain possibilities that need to be addressed in this area.

“The ruling does not in any way make illegal the destruction of unborn human life, it simply makes it less financially attractive for companies who do research utilizing embryonic stem cells to do so, as they cannot protect their developments in these cases. To this limited extent, it is a welcome development, and if it moves resources toward the sort of stem cell research that does not involve the destruction of human beings and is actually seeing great progress in curing disease and relieving suffering, that is a very good thing.

“The fight to defend unborn human beings from being destroyed or exploited in the nations of the European Union is far from over, but we hope that this decision is indicative of a trend toward greater respect for human life in all its stages.”