Bureaucrats who are completing their terms on the European Commission have vetoed a pro-life petition that was signed by some 2 million voters across the 28-nation coalition in a move that is being described as “contrary to ethical and democratic requirements.”
A spokesman for the “One of Us” campaign, which gathered the signatures to support a demand that government no longer finance the deaths of unborn children, said the outgoing members, whose terms ended Wednesday, vetoed the “largest petition in the history of European institutions.”
WND reported earlier this month that the petition sought to ban EU funds for “activities which presuppose the destruction of human embryos, in particular in the areas of research, development aid and public health.”
One of the primary objections of the petition organizers is the EU’s funding of abortion overseas – primarily in poor countries – under the guise of population control and “sexual health.”
The opponents said that despite widespread objections and potential legal conflicts, the EU also continues to provide taxpayer funding to two of the largest abortion providers in the world, International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International.
Other organizations that perform, support and facilitate abortion worldwide also receive large amounts of EU funding, according to a 2012 report by European Dignity Watch.
While estimates vary, in all, the EU has provided hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to organizations that perpetrate or encourage abortion.
“The EU must take this seriously because we have to care for life,” Benedicta Lindberg, the One of Us coordinator for Sweden and the secretary-general for the Swedish pro-Life movement Respekt, said at the time.
“Without caring for life, there is no European Union – there will be no EU in the future if you don’t care about people,” Lindberg said.
Campaign spokesman Gregor Puppinck said it was the “Barroso Commission” that issued the veto.
He was referring to the European Commission, the organization’s executive body, led by Jose Barroso, whose tenure is expiring.
The Wall Street Journal pointed out that the future leadership is uncertain, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and others supporting Jean-Claude Juncker, former prime minister of Luxembourg.
Others, such as U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfelt oppose him.
In light of that uncertainty and the fact that petition supporters believe procedures weren’t followed, Puppinck’s statement said the work “is not over.”
“On one hand, the commission’s decision is likely to be appealed before the Court of Justice in Luxembourg – which acknowledges respect for human life from conception – and on the other hand, the new parliament will audition the next commission, allowing it to replace the respect of the Citizens’ Initiative in the heart of debates, and asks European Institutions to be more ethical and democratic.”
The petition was assembled through the European Citizens’ Initiative, a participative democracy mechanism created by the Treaty of Lisbon through which a million citizens can take the initiative of introducing a legislative proposal in the European institutions, Puppinck said.
“The ‘ONE OF US’ committee expresses its deep disappointment towards a deaf commission which today makes a decision contrary to ethical and democratic requirements. While each initiative draft is controlled upstream by the commission before being open to signature, the Barroso Commission claims to possess the right of veto downstream, against initiatives having yet successfully obtained the required popular support. Such veto power is illegitimate and anti-democratic since politically, it is the European Legislature that may give a verdict on the content of the Initiative, and not the Commission, otherwise, the ECI mechanism would be meaningless,” he explained.
“The commission’s response is hypocritical and disdainful as it pretends to not understand the purpose of the demand and comprises of thirty pages of self satisfaction of its own policy. The Commission wishes to continue financing non ethical and outdated biotechnological practices, as well as abortion in developing countries including countries where this is prohibited by criminal law,” he said.
He said also the commission’s response “flouts the democratic procedure.”
Roger Kiska of Alliance Defending Freedom said the One of Us citizenship initiative is “proof that when the average European is given a voice, then more often than not they choose life.”
“In this case nearly 2 million Europeans strong have sent a message to Brussels that they will no longer tolerate the use of their hard earned money to fund abortions or the destruction of the embryo,” Kiska told WND.
The nations with the most signatories were Italy with 623,000; Poland, 235,000; Germany, 137,874; Spain, about 150,000; and Romania, more than 110,000.
The plan had sparked the outrage of those who have been getting taxpayer money.
International Planned Parenthood Federation chief Tewodros Melesse, for example, speaking in Stockholm, blasted the campaign and its supporters.
“A woman doesn’t have an abortion for fun,” Melesse was quoted as saying in media reports cited on the organization’s website.
The gathering of nearly 2 million signatures for the Citizens’ Initiative comes less than six months after WND reported that socialists and Planned Parenthood failed in their effort to obtain a declaration that abortion and sex education for young children are “human rights” in the European Parliament.