The European Center for Law and Justice is condemning a Strasbourg, France, court for declaring that “the wish for a child” is a fundamental right protected by the European Convention.
The European Court of Human Rights has decided that infertile couples could use any type of medical procedure to create a child, even procedures banned by their home country over bioethical concerns.
The ECLJ asserted the decision undermines the traditional definition of families as “biologically and genetically linked,” rejects “moral considerations” as grounds for banning some forms of artificial reproduction and may enable same-sex partners to demand medical assistance in creating a child.
“This decision is legally and ethically unacceptable; it diminishes the state’s sovereignty in ethical matters, it is not inferred from the European Convention, and it opens the doors to many other ethical abuses,” said Grégor Puppinck, director of the ECLJ, in a statement.
“[If] the concerns based on moral considerations or on social acceptability are not appropriate to regulate biotechnology, what is the purpose of bioethics?” Puppinck added.
The ECLJ is a group of Christian lawyers working to “protect the rights of believers to worship and share the message of Jesus Christ without fear of persecution or discrimination in Europe.” ECLJ is the European affiliate of the American Center for Law and Justice.
The court asserted in its decision that
“concerns based on moral considerations or on social acceptability are not in themselves sufficient reasons for a complete ban on a specific artificial procreation technique such as ova donation.”
The ECLJ said that “one of the potential consequences of this decision would be the recognition of a right for ‘same sex couples’ to fulfill their ‘wish for a child’ through artificial procreation, since discrimination based on ‘gender identification’ and ‘sexual orientation’ is generally not allowed by the court.”
Following a demand from the Austrian government, the European Court of Human Rights will “refer” the case, originally decided by the First Section of the ECHR, to the ECHR’s “Grand Chamber” for a new trial.
The ECLJ is warning of dire social consequences if the Grand Chamber upholds the lower chamber’s decision.
“If this decision is upheld by the Grand Chamber, the flood gates will open for the recognition of a protected right for same sex couples to access artificial procreation with egg or sperm donors exactly like a couple composed of a man and a woman. The court has already affirmed that adoption of children shall be granted without discrimination based on sexual orientation. Therefore, if the ‘wish for a child’ should be fulfilled through adoption without discrimination based on sexual orientation; why should it be different, from the court’s perspective, for the fulfilment of ‘same-sex couples wish for a child’ through artificial procreation?”
The case originated with two Austrian couples denied the opportunity to obtain medical assistance in creating a child. One couple required in vitro fertilization with a sperm donor, and the other couple required donations of both sperm and egg. Austria’s Artificial Procreation Act bans in vitro procedures using donated genetic material for the purpose of preserving the genetic link between children and parents.