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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Anti-Crime Director Kleijssen to EF: Heritable Genetic Editing = Frightening => Ban as Cloning !

CoE Anti-Crime Director Kleijssen to EF: Heritable Genetic Editing = Frightening => Ban as Cloning !

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 20 March 2019
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- Days before Chinese President Xi Jiping is due to meet with European and USA Leaders (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/usachinaontradeandbioethics.html, and Infra), the Experienced Director of CoE's PanEuropean Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, (which has 47 Member States, including Russia, etc) competent also on Fight against Crime, Jan Kleijssen from the Netherlands, speaking to "Eurofora", strongly Denounced the recent Heritable Genetic Editing of 2 Babies by a Chinese Doctor Educated by, Linked to, and Publicized through a "Socialist"/Liberal USA Network of the former Barack Hussein Obama's era, (See : ...), and stressed that it must be Banned, reminding that also the Cloning of Human Beings identical to others, had Started to be Outlawed already since the 1990ies.

CoE is the Only Multilateral Organisation in the World which has a Legaly Binding Convention on Bio-Medicine and Human Rights, called "Oviedo" Treaty, as early as since 1998, which is Open for Signature and Ratification even to 3rd, Non-European Countries, accross the World.

 

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Kleijssen made it clear that, as a matter of General Principle, most Bio-Medical Research and Technologies, as well as many others, are neither "bad", nor "good" in themselves, but depending on the way in which some Use or Abuse of them. That's why, Bio-Ethical Rules should, in general, EnLighten and Guide Practitioners on what, when and how a given Technology might be, entirely or partially, admissible, or not, he recalled.

But, sometimes, there are also certain "Red Lines", CoE's Top Official pointed out. F.ex., CoE called to "Prohibit" the Cloning of Humans, (i.e. the ReProduction of Identical Human beings to another individual, alive or dead), Denounced as Contrary to "Human Dignity", (to which were Added, Later-on, Worrying Findings about Negative Genital Malformations of Cloned Animals, as the Famous Ship "Dolly", Dead after Sufferings), with a Protocol to its above-mentioned Convention on Biology, Medicine and Human Rights, (the "Oviedo" Treaty), opened to signature in Paris since January 1998, he Reminded.

So that Countries going from Germany up to Australia, etc, already Imposed such a Ban against Cloning of Human Beings, via Legal Rules threatening with several Years of Jail, Financial Sanctions, etc., and USA's former President G.W.Bush had also adopted a similar Measure, before the Bill stahled in the Congress.

+ Moreover, several More Countries throughout the World, including, f.ex., among others, also Italy, Spain, the Philppines, USA, the Holy See, Costa Rica, Portugal, most Latin America Countries, backed in substance by France and Germany, etc, pushed for an International Ban against "Cloning" Humans, at the level of the UNO, followed also by several other Countries which were for a Partial Ban, on 2005, finaly Resulting, then, into a Global UN Declaration.

>>> But, Nowaday's Threat for Heritable "Editing" able to Manipulate the Human Genome also in Future Generations, in an Irreversible way, (as it Started to already occur since the Autumn of 2018 : Comp. Supra), -"is, indeed, very Frightening !", denounced CoE's experienced Director against Crime, (who has also Served as CEO of CoE Assembly's Political Committee, Head of CoE Secretary General's Office, etc).

=> Therefore, we (CoE) should make it clear that this Controversial Technique "Crosses a Red Line", by Prohibiting it, with a Legaly Binding Measure which can be extended Worldwide, f.ex., based on CoE's above-mentioned Convention on Bio-Medicine and Human Rights, which already Prohibits any Intervention aimed at Modifying the Human GermLine, (i.e. to Manipulate the Human Genome also for Future Generations : "any Modification to the Genome of any Descendants", as its Article 13 says), Kleijssen urged.

+ In Parallel, 2 New CoE Experts' Reports on Editing Human Genome are reportedly in Preparation : Both a Survey of All Member Countries' relevant Legislation, and a BioEthical Analysis of what is really at stake.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

++ Meanwhile, a fresh Call to establish "a Global Ban" against Heritable Genetic Manipulations on Humans was Recently Launched by MEPs during an "ad hoc" EU Parliament's Debate in Strasbourg, with an EU Commissioner promissing to "Explore" that possibility asap, while the vice-President of the Biggest Political Group, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, Pons from Spain, speaking to "Eurofora", announced that, already a relevan Draft Resolution circulates inside EU Parliament, with the aim to be voted and adopted, hopefully, before the forthcoming EU Elections of May 2019, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eppvpresidentandmepsongermlinemanipban.html , etc).

+++ In Addition, a Chinese Government Official has Recently Condemned Strongly such Controversial and Dangerous Practices, (against Health and Humanity), as both "illegal" and "UnEthical", (See, f.ex.: ...), while US President Don Trump, in a Recent Speech to the traditional BiPartisan, American "National Prayer Breakfast" annual 2019 event, spoke for "All Children, Born and UnBorn, (which) are made at the Image of God", linked to "the Miracle of Life and to the Majesty of Creation", as he said for the Human Embryos, on a Key Point which was most Widely and Lively Applauded by Thousands of People.

Several among Trump's Socio-Political Opponents are Afraid that the American President might be, sooner or later, enclined to Trigger and Stimulate also Christian and other such People's support on certain Key BioEthical Issues, (perhaps inspired also by his predecessor, GWBush's similar succesful move at his brillant Re-Election of 2004, which had suddenly become UnExpectedly Popular), against the narrow-minded, petty interests of some selfish Lobbies which had copiously Paid Barack Hussein Obama's pre-Electoral Campaigns on 2009 and 2012, pushing to Drop BioEthical Values for Big Pharma's bucks.

To those, are naturally Added also Other People, particularly Opposed to "Racist" propaganda and/or practices, as they claim, who should, normally, be among the First to Fear, even More, any Risk to Artificially Create real "Races", by Heritable Alterations of Human Genome also in Future Generations, which Threatens to put an End to Humanity's History  !...

=> Until and during April, Presidents Trump and Xi have, on the Occasion of Top-Level Contacts for Trade, a rare, if not unique, Chance to make an Historic move in order to Settle, or, at least, Prepare and ensure the settlement of such a Crucial Issue.

++++ This is Also true for even Earlier expected Top Level Meetings of the Chinese President, towards the End of March, with key European Leaders as the French President Emmanuel Macron and the German Chancellor Angie Merkel, Together with EU Commission's President Jean-Claude Juncker, Next Week in Paris, at the Eve of Crucial EU Elections of May 2019, and well Before the decisive 2020 US Elections.

Between those Two Dates, an EU - China Summit (after EU Commission recently adopted its Draft "Strategy" on Beijing, earlier this March in Strasbourg : Comp: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eucommissionvpresidentonchinaandspace.html, to be Followed, Later this week, also by an EU Heads of State/Governments' Summit due to discuss and vote on EU's overall Strategy vis a vis China) is scheduled in Brussels for April 9.

 

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  imag0573_400

    An "Eugenic" loophole Amendment, which might expose to Dangers reminiscent of "3rd Reich's" notorious Genetic Abuses, hidden at the last minute inside an otherwise Good, larger Health policy Package scheduled to be voted on Thursday, was strongly denounced by a coalition of MEPs from various Political Groups and Countries, in a Press Conference held this afternoon at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Mainly calling to "Select Human Embryos", via "Genetic Counselling" and "pre-implantation" Techniques including "Genetic Tests", in order to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", it might open ways to Dangerous Practices in Future, they denounced in substance.

    But they also made it clear that a much larger Report inside which this Controversial Amendment "No 15" was added in dubious circumstances, officialy destinated to struggle against "Rare Diseases", and drafted by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, was otherwise "an Excellent Report", aiming at a "completely Uncontroversial target" of Health policy on which "all MEPs and Experts are united, believing that Europe should act" to protect People's Health (See "EuroFora"'s earlier News).

    The controversy came at a particularly delicate moment for the EU in relation to Citizens, at the eve of June 2009 EU Elections, and shortly before Ireland re-votes for "Lisbon Treaty"..    

- Denouncing risks of "an Eugenic demand, very similar to what we had during the 3rd Reich in Germany, but now coming from some Scientisists themselves", German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Dr. Peter Liese stressed that critical MEPs were against "Eugenic" engineering with "Selection of Human Embryos", and anything which might ultimately lead up to to a "Selection of Human Race". It doesn't help to "eradicate" Human Lives, he added.


    Several Experts and NGOs expressed "Deep Concern", as f;ex. DR M.C. Cornel of the "European Society of Human Genetics", which stressed, on this occasion, that "the importance of Non-Directiveness in Reproductive issues is a Central characteristic of Human Genetics, after the Atrocities committed in the name of Genetics in the first half or the 20th Century".

     - "This is completely Unacceptable", stressed Italian Liberal MEP Vittorio Prodi, on the Controversial Amendment, also because pushes to "eliminate early Human Life", as he noted.

     - "This opens a Dangerous Road, rather a Motorway", denounced Danish MEP Mrs Margrette Auken, from the "Greens", observing that various similar attempts were made in the Past "not only in Germany, but also in several other Countries, "even at the 1970ies", "f.ex. on forced Sterilisation of Roma" People, and other criticisable situations f.ex. in the UK, in Sweden, etc. as she said.

    + Other NGOs, as f.ex. "LebenHilfe" from Berlin, added that, among various other Risks, could also be that, by exploiting the pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics and the Selection of "healthy" Embryos, some may "propagate" several "Eugenic" aims, starting f.ex. by pushing to eradicate Human Livies which might "Cost too much" to preserve, ultimately exposing to dangers reminiscent of the "3rd Reich"'s atrocious abuses.

    In consequence, ChristianDemocrats/EPP and "Green" MEPs "decided by Majority to vote against" this Controversial Amendment, anounced to Journalists the 5 MEPs who participated in the Press Conference, representing a wide spectrum, from Liberals to "Greens" and ChristianDemocrats, and from Hungary, Italy, Germany and Danemark up to Ireland (Gay Mitchell), etc.
----------------------------------
    Hungarian ChristianDemocrat MEP Laszlo Surjan said "that it was "Suddenly, at the End of the Procedure" in Committee, that "appeared this (Controversial) Amendment, which has nothing to do" with the main purpose of the Report, on which all agreed.

    He denounced an "Unhonest" move, and called to "avoid this kind of unacceptable situations". Nobody should "Select People", Surjan stressed.

    - "We (MEPs) had No Chance to Discuss" this last-minute Amendment earlier added at a Committee's level, said German MEP Peter Liese

    Speaking to "EuroFora", Dr. Liese, the Spokesman of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group in EU Parliament, said that MEPs didn't oppose other references of the Report f.ex. on "Genetic Tests", because they were "no proposals" to impose them, while, on the contrary, there was "a Problem" if anyone attempted to "impose" f.ex. this or that Genetic Technique and "Genetic Counselling", etc. to the People on human reproduction.
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The precise Text :
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    Controversial parts of Amendment No 15 ask mainly "to lead finally to the Eradication" of "Hereditary" "rare diseases", "through Genetic Counselling .., and ..pre-Implantation Selection of healthy Embryos".

    But  EU Rapporteur Professor Trakatellis, said to "EuroFora" that fears should be alleviated by Guarantees that all this should be done only "where appropriate", when it's "not contrary to existing National Law", and "always on a Voluntary basis", according to other Parts of the Amendment.

    He stressed that the main aim was to allow "a free and informed choice of persons involved", without imposing them anything :  - "It's not an obligatory, but advisary" text, he said.

    To make that point clear, he was ready, in agreement with many MEPs, to eventually drop at least that part of the controversial Amendment which initially called for "efforts to ..lead finally to the Eradication of those rare diseases" "which are Hereditary".

    But, until late Wednesday evening, reportedly together with many other MEPs, he stood by all the rest of the controversial Amendment, (fex. on the "Genetic Counselling" and the "pre-implantation Selection of healthy Embryos"), so that critical MEPs, going from ChristianDemocrats as Dr. Liese, to "Greens" or "Ind/Dem", observed to "EuroFora" that "this was not enough" to close the dangerous loophole.

    Particularly since, as Professor Trakatellis noted himself, "this is already allowed to the U.K.", and "other National Legislations would probably follow, sooner or later" in a similar direction. As for a general call to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", this "should happen, at any case, in practice, de facto", to protect public Health.

    On the contrary, "our goal should be to help patients suffering from rare diseases, not to eradicate the patients. In case of genetic disease risk, the decision should not be guided by scenarios" made by politicians. "Perents who may decide to accept a child, even if handicapped or with genetic disease, must be respected and supported with solidarity", critical MEPs stated.

    - "Any Pressure" to "a patient or couple (who "should be able to make an informed choice consistent with their own values"),"from health Professionals, Public Health Policies or Governemental Institutions, or Society at large, should be avoided", stresses the "European Society for Human Genetics".

----------------------------------

Each MEP's vote will be registered !

-----------------------------------   

The Socialist Group requested a "Split vote" on the Amendment 15, first without, and afterwards with the words "lead finally to the Eradication" etc.


    But the first "split vote" leaves intact all the other parts of the Controversial Amendment, (i.e. "Genetic Counselling", "Selection of healthy Embryos", etc).

    That's why, 3 Groups of MEPs : ChristianDemocrats/EPP, "Greens/EFA", and "Ind/Dem", have asked for "Roll Call Votes", on everything regarding the Controversial Amendment No 15, and on the final outcome of the resulting Report as amended, which will register all the individual positions to be taken by each MEP.   

Something which will obviously make each MEP think twice before voting for one or another choice, to be sure that he/she will make the right choice in front of EU Citizens, particularly at these pre-Election times...


    Crucial Votes were scheduled between 12 Noon and 1 p.m. local Strasbourg time, in the middle of a long series of various other Reports, and after a long Public Debate on the larger Health policy package, from 9 to 11.50 am.

    The specific Report inside which was hidden the controversial Amendment is due to be debated between 11 and 12 am.

    So that more last-minute Surprises may not be excluded a priori...

    Particularly at the present Historic moment, when even the Institutional Future of the EU depends on the result of a second Referendum on "Lisbon Treaty", later this year, in ...Ireland, a mainly Catholic country, where People are particularly sensitive in such kind of socio-cultural and values issues...
 

      ***     
 
     (Draft due to be updated).
 
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