COMECE General Secretary says SoHO legislation threatens dignity of life

The General Secretary of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) expressed his concern about the European Parliament’s position on the regulation of so-called “substances of human origin” (SoHO).

Sep 13, 2023

Fr Manuel Barrios Prieto (Reservados los derechos de autor. Prohibida la reprodc)

By Vatican News
In a statement issued on Tuesday 12 September, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) and the Katholisches Büro in Berlin expressed their deep concerns about a draft of the European Parliament’s position on the regulation of so-called “substances of human origin” (SoHO).

With regards to the newly passed legislation, Fr Barrios Prieto, President of COMECE spoke with Vatican News, explaining some of the aspects of SoHo that should be revisited.

Q. What does the result of today's vote mean in concrete terms? Is it a first step towards stronger legislation on the use of human embryos?

Well, I would say actually the opposite. I think that the world today doesn’t go in the right direction because this regulation, which is good in principle because it legislates on an issue that is very important, like the use of substances of human origin - that's what SoHO means: substances of human origin - well, this is very important for medical purposes, to have clear legislation; also, on some broader issues, on what is SoHO, how to use it, guaranteeing safety criteria and quality criteria.

So I think this regulation is very useful.

But our issue is that in this regulation, that term, SoHO, is not very clear. And the definition is so broad in article three of this regulation that it could include also, and I think it could include embryos, for example.

So we advocate for a clear distinction between cells, tissues, plasma, and embryos. Embryos have a dignity and have to be respected as such. So I think this for us is very important and in this regulation, it is not clear.

Other issues are not clear as well, that I think should be clarified. For example, the competence of the member states on issues related to Soho that have an ethical implication. I think the member states have to be allowed to have more stringent norms on these issues. And a third issue that in some way worries us is that, I would say, some practice of human selection can be included in these norms. There's a testing of when SoHOs might be dangerous or not. So I think there are some issues that have to be clarified in this regulation.

How is the dignity of human life affected after a vote like today's? How can human life be defended and promoted?

Well, if embryos are put on the same level as human cells, whatever cells, tissues, or blood. Then obviously we're degrading the embryo. So that's where this regulation for us is a bit worrying. We have to clarify very much the terms we’re using.

Then, I think, the promotion of human lives, at least from the point of view of COMECE, has to do a lot with working with policy makers in the European Union, to make them understand things that for us are important, like the protection of human life.

And life starts not only after being born, but life starts from before, from conception, and this thing [is what] we have to try to explain to the policy makers in the European Union.

And then I think another mission that we have as COMECE, is trying to promote - also with politicians that are close to us - legislation that defends and promotes human life, mostly when it's more vulnerable.--Vatican News

Total Comments:0