European political and judicial officials long have had an affinity for abortion, going so far as to consider in the European Parliament a plan to declare the killing of the unborn a human right.

But there soon may be headwinds to that agenda, as nearly 2 million European citizens have signed a petition seeking a ban on funding of research procedures that kill embryos.

The signatures were gathered under a new process in the European Union called European Citizens’ Initiatives.

If plan sponsors collected a target of 1 million signatures, with minimums from each of at least seven EU nations, the European Commission acknowledges the campaign and addresses it.

There also can be a public hearing organized at the European Parliament, and the commission promises to adopt a communication explaining its conclusions and what action it intends to take.

Of eight proposals in the first round of initiatives, three apparently succeeded in reaching the minimum levels of support. One opposes experiments on animals, a second seeks water protections and another seeks to halt any funding for research that involves the destruction of embryos.

Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said of those efforts: “I am greatly encouraged by the fact that three such diverse ECIs may have passed the threshold of success. It proves that this very ambitious and unique experiment in transnational participatory democracy has captured the imagination of people across Europe.

“I offer my commiserations to the organizers of the other five ECIs. But their efforts and energy were certainly not wasted. They have all succeeded in forging links with like-minded people across the continent and sparking genuine pan-European debates on issues that are clearly very important to them. These are solid foundations on which they can continue to campaign.”

National authorities now have three months to validate the signatures. Once a successful ECI is validated, the commission will then have three months to examine the initiative and decide how to act on it, leaders of the campaign said.

The pro-life effort is called One of Us.

The campaign said there have been more than 1.885 million signatures, “which makes this pro-life initiative the first and the largest success.”

Signatures have come in from 20 countries, “evidencing that the will to defend the human embryo is deeply rooted within the populations of Europe,” the campaign said.

The purpose of the Initiative One of Us is to reaffirm that the human embryo is “One of Us,” the organizers said.

The initiative states: “No budget allocation will be made for the funding of activities that destroys human embryos, or that presumes their destruction,” as in particular for “research activities that destroy human embryos, including those aimed at obtaining stem cells, and research involving the use of human embryonic stem cells in subsequent steps to obtain them” and for “abortion, directly or indirectly, through the funding of organizations that encourage or promote abortion.”

Campaign chief Gregor Puppinck said in a statement: “A ban on such funding will greatly contribute to consistency of the EU legislation, in particular since the European Court of Justice’s judgment in the case of Brüstle v. Greenpeace affirming that the human embryo is protected under EU law, as well as because abortion is not a EU competence and is not a human right,” said a statement of

Puppinck said an “unprecedented number of groups from civil society have collaborated in each country and across Europe to build an effective network of advocates for the value of human life, and to bring up this message to the European political level.”

“For a long time, the biotech industries and the Malthusian lobbies (such as IPPF) had had a monopolistic presence at this European political level. For the first time, those utilitarian forces are challenged by a profound humanistic counter-message.”

Supporters said Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches all coordinated on the effort.

Organizers say the campaign “has a greater political potential than any other initiative that has been undertaken so far to protect the dignity of the person and life from conception at a European scale.”

The campaign goal 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.”

WND previously reported on the move among the leaders to make abortion a “human right.”

At that time Puppinck said the notion that abortion on demand could be declared a human right flies in the face of the facts. In reality, it is a “clear” violation of human rights.

As WND reported early this year, the battle over the rights of unborn children is raging across Europe.

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