On Tuesday May 24, Alliance VITA is launching the awareness-raising campaign « Stop GM Babies », to inform and alert the public about the ethical challenges related to the new CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing tool.
Information booths will be held in 75 cities by Alliance VITA volunteers who will meet French citizens and offer to sign, on the Internet site change.org, the call to “STOP GM BABIES” launched the same day.
>> To sign the petition: www.change.org/stopbebeogm
>> To better understand the challenges and to take part in the debate: www.stopbebeogm.fr
Why is Alliance VITA calling to action ?
Simultaneously innovative, promising and risky, the CRISPR-Cas9 technology holds great promise for curing a variety of genetic diseases, particularly hereditary illnesses. It raises serious ethical questions however, regarding specific applications to human embryos or germlines.
Countries such as China, Great Britain, or Sweden, have already started experiments on human embryos using this genome-editing tool, which are destined to be destroyed. Yet, some ethical regulations urgently need to be implemented. We should not use embryos as tools to be manipulated. And this can only be achieved if we ban genetically modified embryos. This is the reason why we address a call to “Stop GM Babies” to the French President, and both the Health and Research Ministers.
The baseline of this campaign, «Yes to therapeutic progress – No to transgenic embryos » gives a fair idea of this challenge.
What is at stake?
The main risk is to treat human embryos as « guinea pigs for life» in experiments. Yet, the utopian dream to produce a post-human zero-defect GM baby would be endorsed, whereas the consequences of genetic modifications on embryos are not yet fully known nor mastered, and carries the risk of mutations to be transmitted to future generations.
Call to action in France, to raise awareness at the international level…
Appealing to « Stop GM Babies » is a first worldwide step to get citizens involved in the ethical debate regarding CRISPR-Cas9 technology.
Alliance VITA is starting this campaign in France, partly because France plays a key role in countering the Anglo-Saxon or Asian utilitarian approach, which has no limit in the commodification of human life.