Pro Life Campaign welcomes European Court of Justice decision to prohibit patenting of human embryos

Pro Life Campaign welcomes European Court of Justice decision to prohibit patenting of human embryos

20th October 2011

Pro Life Campaign welcomes European Court of Justice decision to prohibit patenting of human embryos


The decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to prohibit the patenting of human embryos has been described by the Pro Life Campaign (PLC) as “welcome and significant”.  

Responding to this week’s decision of the ECJ, PLC spokesperson Dr Ruth Cullen said that the ruling was “a vindication of the inherent rights of the human embryo”.

Dr Cullen said: “The ruling in Oliver Brüstle vs. Greenpeace established the principle that the human embryo is human from the moment of conception.

"EU Directive 98/44/EC had already prohibited the commercialisation of research based on human embryos, but it had not spelled out clearly what EU law regarded as a human embryo.

“The Court’s decision that “the concept of ‘human embryo’ must be understood in a wide sense” is welcome and significant.”

Responding to suggestions that the ruling might endanger medical breakthroughs in areas such as a cure for Parkinson's Disease, Dr. Cullen pointed out that, as yet, research which involved the destruction of human embryos has not produced any medically useful breakthroughs.

Dr Cullen said: “To date, non-embryonic stem cell research has produced a wide range of breakthroughs which have contributed to the treatment of a variety of conditions and diseases. However, these success stories have all come using adult stem cells, which do not involve the killing of human embryos. Adult stem cell research is the way forward for both ethics and science.”

ENDS