Embryo Research: Serious ethical upheaval with no scientific justification


Alliance VITA denounces the brutal enforcement of a proposition of law which aims, without any real debate, at authorizing research which will destroy human embryos. For Alliance VITA, this text overturns the previous embryo and stem cell research conditions, thereby deleting the exclusion by principle, and substituting a much wider and flexible framework. This discussion took place without previously consulting the French people by an enquiry commission – such as it is stated and provided for in the bioethics law of July 7, 2011.

Dr Xavier Mirabel, Alliance VITA’s President says:

            «Authorizing research on embryos is a serious ethical issue, because it classifies a human being at its earliest stage as an object. Furthermore, there is no scientific reason for treating human embryos as laboratory guinea-pigs. The Nobel Prize for Medicine has just been awarded to Japanese Shinya Yamanaka and to British John Gurdon for their discoveries on nuclear reprogramming, which is an ethical technique. But by explicitly authorizing research on human embryos leading to their destruction, this proposition of law overturns a major bioethical principle that confers a symbolic protection to the human embryo. I wish to recal that embryo research has not given us any proven result to this day; also that other countries are turning to reprogrammed (adult) stem cells (IPS). For example, the American company Geron which had announced a clinical test based on embryonic stem cells in 2009, stopped its research in 2011 due to lack of proven results. On the contrary, Japan is in the process of allowing clinical research on (adult) stem cells (IPS), to treat an eye disease, which would be a very promising world’s first.”

Alliance VITA requests the French Parliament and Government to act in favor of ethical research, and insists on a moratorium on freezing human embryos. Without this, the Bioethics law should be strictly followed to, in order to limit the derogations which are given much too freely. VITA notes that France remains in full contradiction to the European orientations which exclude all patents on human embryos, and the Oviedo convention, which in article 18 demands an “adequate protection” of in-vitro embryos.

Alliance VITA, together with the other associations of the group “One of Us”, request a halt to European Union financing for embryo research involving destruction, as called for by the Commission for Juridical Affairs of the European Parliament which is currently analyzing the program for research and innovation, “Horizon 2020”.

The group invites all European citizens who care about ethical research to sign the European citizens’ initiative on www.undenous.fr which calls for a halt to financing this type of research by European Union funds. Already 760,000 Europeans, including 67,000 French citizens have signed within a few weeks.

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