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Published: January 19, 2013 1:49 am to International News

Vatican’s EU personhood petition seeks signatures

One of UsLast year, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Laity launched a personhood petition in the European Union to ensure “protection of the dignity, the right to life and of the integrity of every human being from conception.” The signature campaign, called “One of Us,” is tasked with collecting one million signatures from citizens of European Union nations in 2013.

The campaign is one of the first European Citizen’s Initiatives ever registered. Supporters are optimistic that the initiative can “advance the protection of human life from conception in Europe – within the possibilities of the competency of the EU” and send a clear pro-life message to Brussels. The initiative would force the EU to act upon protections of the human embryo previously acknowledged by the European Court of Justice (Brüstle vs. Greenpeace, 2011).

At the 2012 Global Pro-Life Unity Summit, pro-life organizations from Romania, Portugal, Poland, Ireland, and Hungary shared their desire to pursue a European personhood initiative and to apply the petition process utilized in many American states. The “One of Us” campaign shares the spirit of the Lisbon Declaration released by participants of the summit. Personhood USA, a co-sponsor of the summit, has committed to supporting its pro-personhood European allies with the new Vatican-backed pro-life initiative.

Campaign organizers say, “The Europe of tomorrow is in your hands. Be worthy of this task.” If you live in the European Union or know someone who does, the “One of Us” campaign needs your help. Please sign the petition and share it with friends so that they can sign it, too. To find out how you can get involved, please contact your local pro-life representative promoting the initiative.

About Josh Craddock

Josh Craddock, 22, is a liaison for Personhood Education at the United Nations and a recent graduate of The King’s College in New York City. He is actively participating in negotiations for developing the UN post-2015 agenda.
View all posts by Josh Craddock

  • Daniela Paun

    Josh, thank you for this excellent article presenting EU Personhood Initiative and the link where EU citizens are invited to sign. Please allow me to add some information about what means an European Citizen’s Initiative.

    This is a new an instrument of direct democracy by which any citizen of the EU will be able to propose legislation to the European Commission. The EU Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic: “This is an unprecedented expansion in participatory democracy. It is a powerful agenda-setting tool in the hands of citizens. I hope it will also encourage the development of a genuine European ‘demos’ as citizens come together across borders to debate issues that are important to all of them.”

    The accent falls on “propose” as the EU Commission has the right, after analyzing the object of any Initiative to accept or not the start of the signatures’collection campaign or to presented to the EU Parliament.

    YET: “Not to respond to an ECI, which has proven to be widely supported in most Member States, would be a serious loss of credibility fort he EU institutions. Therefore, the parliament (EU nb) will be very careful to reject a proposal that would further create negative feelings towards the EU among citizens.”

    We hope “One of US” will create a political pressure as the politicians will “become aware that the right to life is a concern shared by many voters, and that they need to take account of this.”

    Political parties, NGOs and Churches are invited to sustain an Initiative, but this is mainly an initiative stemming from the civil society. We hope a “new EU-wide pro-life movement is created” and “every experience we collect here can be used for campaigns on other pro-life issues in further course. In that sense, it can be expected that the outcome may be very enduring.”

    The objective of any Initiative is limited to matters within EU competence, in this case for example abortion is NOT a component, cannot change the the allocation of competencies in the EU and it does not concern the areas of competence of the Member states.

    The objective of “One of Us” is to end the EU “financing of activities which presuppose the destruction of human embryos, in particular in the areas of research, development aid and public health”. Example: financing abortion in countries of the Third World.

    “The desired outcome of the initiative is a concrete ban of life-destroying policies in the EU budget, as well as a political change and greater awareness of the need to respect the wish of so many European citizens. Furthermore, jurisdiction at the European Court of Human Rights, where many bioethical cases are pending, could be positively influenced.”

    MEP Carlo Casini, president of the Constitutional Affairs Commission of the European Parliament and of “Movimento per la Vita” noted that:

    - “a great mobilization of consciences is necessary to overcome resignation and acceptance in face of aggressions against life.”

    - the ECI initiative is an attempt “to bring to its goal and perfection a historical movement that, in the name of equality and human dignity, has freed slaves, promoted people of color, demanded equality of opportunity for women and proclaimed human rights.” and
    “to offer Europe the energy of a real civil and moral renewal.”

    We hope for this RENEWAL in 2013, year declared by the EU the “Year of the Citizen”.

    The pro-life movement in Europe has a lot to learn from the US experience in this intense battle, specially the young generations.