Strasbourg October 12,2023
Yesterday October 12th at the Plenary in Strasbourg, in a pivotal vote conducted at the European Parliament, the “Regulation concerning quality and safety standards for substances of human origin intended for human application” was passed with a significant majority of 483 votes in favor. On the surface, this vote appears to represent a positive step towards establishing stringent standards for substances of human origin, but Vice-President Pablo Siegriest warns that the SoHO regulation conceals a hidden peril that gravely neglects human dignity.
It is in this context, that the One of Us European Federation strongly condemns this view of human beings in their earliest stages of development as mere commodities, and reminds European legislators that it is the recognition of the dignity of all human beings, especially the most vulnerable, that made our civilization great in the world. The One of us President, Marina Casini, declared “It’s illogical that the law in Europe fall to pragmatism without thinking at the reality of the Dignity of Human embryos. It’s not understandable that with the light of today science and the principles of equality our society still consider the Human embryo as a raw material for science experiences.”
- Ethical Erosion: The Marketplace of Humanity
The SoHO regulation presents a disconcerting ethical conundrum that strikes at the heart of human dignity. While it ostensibly champions the principles of voluntary, unpaid, and informed donations of human substances, it falls short of providing a unified ethical framework. Vice-President Siegriest comments, “This regulation allows Member States to operate under their own ethical guidelines, creating a troubling scenario where the highest bidder can exert undue influence over substances donated in one Member State. This, in essence, commodifies the human body, casting a sinister shadow over the intrinsic dignity of every human being.”
Furthermore, the Commission’s acknowledgment of a growing demand from commercial enterprises, including the likes of egg banks for in vitro fertilization and plasma collectors for medicinal purposes, underscores the existence of a European fertility market. This alarming reality raises ethical questions about the manipulation not only of gametes, without taking into account their delicate specific nature among the different biological substances of human origin and the secondary risks in obtaining them, but of embryos and foetuses, a direct affront to the very European principle of intrinsic human dignity from conception to death.
- Sovereignty at Stake: Regulatory Overreach
Vice-President Siegriest further cautions that the SoHO regulation not only threatens to erode human dignity but also to undermine the principle of national sovereignty. While it purports to leave ethical matters, such as in vitro fertilization, within the jurisdiction of Member States, it seeks to expand the EU’s authority in health-related issues. This seemingly innocuous move could, however, effectively bypass the laws of individual Member States, raising concerns about the preservation of national sovereignty in ethical matters.
Take, for instance, Germany’s laws that allow the cryopreservation of a zygote but prohibit the fertilization of more oocytes than can be transferred to the woman for one cycle. The SoHO regulation’s harmonization proposals could effectively nullify such national laws, sounding the death knell for national sovereignty in matters of ethical significance.
III. A Pandemic of Health Hazards
Beyond ethical and regulatory concerns, the SoHO regulation poses a grave health hazard. As researchers warn, the increased flow of cells, blood, and human tissues could unleash a wave of new prion diseases and previously unknown viruses. These sinister pathogens could evade the watchful eyes of national health surveillance bodies, rekindling the nightmares of past health crises, such as the tainted blood scandal.
Despite the Commission’s intentions to coordinate SoHO entities through various European agencies, including the ECDC (European Center for Disease Control), the EMA (European Medicines Agency), and the HERA (Health Emergency and Response Authority), the peril persists. Experts argue that promoting the practice of autologous transfusions, a safer alternative, is the only way to circumvent this impending health disaster.
Conclusion: The Looming Crisis Demands Immediate Attention
In conclusion, Vice-President Pablo Siegriest emphasizes that the SoHO regulation, though touted as a beacon of safety and quality in the use of substances of human origin, conceals a chilling threat to human dignity. Vice-President Siegriest warns, “This regulation’s ethical ambiguity, potential for regulatory overreach, and the ominous specter of health hazards should send shivers down our collective spine.” While compromise amendments may be presented, policymakers must not overlook the grim implications of this regulation. The preservation of human dignity should stand as an unwavering pillar, even in the face of the impending storm that the SoHO regulation represents. A crisis is brewing, and it demands our immediate attention to protect the core principles that define our humanity.
Moutiaa G Flinois