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Home arrow newsitems arrow EUParliament's Left Group President Zimmer to EF: No Genetic Manipulations on Humans ! Moves coming.

EUParliament's Left Group President Zimmer to EF: No Genetic Manipulations on Humans ! Moves coming.

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 16 April 2019


*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- The Experienced President of EU Parliament's Group of the "Left", German MEP Gabi Zimmer, Replying to an "Eurofora"s Questions in a Press Conference in Strasbourg, just Before the Forthcoming crucial EU Elections of May 2019, for the Period 2019-2024, made it Crystal-clear that her Group of MEPs is, as a matter of Principle, Against "any" Genetic Manipulations on Human beings, doesn't want to "Design" them Artificially, and even stressed that such Topical BioEthical Issues, (notoriously Fuelled by Recent Controversial Incidents around some New Technologies' Dangerous Abuses : See Infra), are due to Take a Great Importance, Needing adequate Political Actions during the Next few Years.

This is one of the very Rare, if not Unique, Big Issues in which, Exceptionally, many MEPs of the "Left" and the "Right" side of the Political Spectrum, may have, Nowadays, some Similar Positions, given, obviously, that here it's really Humanity's foreseable Future which is, in fact, at Stake, (as "Eurofora" had, earlier, briefly Highlighted).



 - Indeed, "Eurofora" explained, first of all, that this was a Question that we were Trying to Raise to All Political Groups in order to have their views before the forthcoming Elections, for what is due to happen during the New Parliament of 2019-2024, on a BioEthical Issue which has Recently taken a Crucial Importance.



  - "Recently, in China, took place a Genetic Manipulation in 2 new-born Babies, which is Heritable by all Generations Future : It's Irreversible,", and "that's the New point, because it's the 1st Time in Human History", we reminded.     

=> "Followed Many and various Reactions accross the World, even from the Chinese Government which Condemned that uprecedented act, but we don't know yet, clearly, the position of Europe !", "Eurofora" observed.

    - "The main point (of this Question is not just about Health, (f.ex. Equal Access, Risks to Provoke Cancer, etc). There, Something Might be done", perhaps, to Settle that Problem, sooner or later. But rather on its Effects on Society : Because the Risk is, Obviously, that, if it falls into Bad Hands, it (Technically) allows to Create "Chimeras", etc., even to Create "Races" : Not just Ideologically, but Really !" I.e. also "Other than the Human Race". Because, "Theoretically, Anything can be done !" with such Techniques..., "Eurofora" Warned. 


=> "What do you think that should be done, about it ? Do you Support those who Ask for a Global Ban ? Or anything else ?"

- "It's a very Serious" Issue, and "it's the 1st Time that it happens", "Eurofora reiterated in fine.

+(We had just Started to remind the Fact that, already, "in Europe we have the Oviedo Convention, of the CoE, (since 1998), which OutLaws" any Intervention in the Human Genome aiming at such a purpose. But it has Not yet been Ratified by All Member States, and, moreover, Nowadays, some, apparently, are Seeking to Bypass it, in one way or another ... However, because of alleged "Lack of Time", we were Hindered to Conclude by Adding that Practical point).



 - "I would say, very Clearly, that we are Against Any Form of Genetic Manipulation !", President Zimmer stressed from the Outset, in her Reply to "Eurofora"s Question.

 - This Crystal-clear Opposition, includes "Any Form that it (i.e. the Genetic Manipulation) could take", she added.


- Because "we do Not Want to Influence (Alter) Human Life, in Any Way, nor to Design <<Experiments>> which do so", the President of EU Parliament's "Euro-Left" Group explained, (comming also from a Country notoriously Taumatized by the NAZI "Tests" on Humans, as f.ex. by the infamous "Dr. Mengele", in certain Concentration Camps).


  + Moreover, "I am Sure that the Next European Parliament, which will be Elected" (on May 2019) "Will Also have a Clear Position on this", she Optimistically stressed, for the forseable Future during 2019-2024.




=> - "And we Will Move Forward on this, (also) with Our Group", the Experienced, Long-Time President of the Euro-Left Group, Vowed.

    - Moreover, at any case, "We will Always be Against that", Zimmer clearly promised.


    + "If you like, you can have a Bilateral (exchange, "off") with me", she Kindly Offered, (even if "Eurofora", unfortunately, was Hindered, in Practice, to Benefit from that Opportuniy now, inter alia, also Because Other Interesting Press Conferences, that we had to try to Follow, were just Starting in a few minutes, and Urgent Press Work was pressing)...


    The Crystal-clear, and UnEquivocal Stance on Principles, that the Experienced Top MEP from Germany, Gabi Zimmer, took on this Topical BioEthical Issue of Fast-Growing Importance, (Comp. Supra), naturally Honors her very much, and it is to Hope that it will be well understood and respected.



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    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.
The precise Text :
    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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