by Simon Caldwell
LONDON (CNS) – A leading Catholic bioethical institute has welcomed the decision of a European court to ban the patenting of any medical treatment derived from destructive experiments on human embryos.
The Oxford-based Anscombe Bioethics Centre praised the decision by the European Court of Justice as a “triumph of ethical standards over commercial interest.”
“From the perspective of those who recognize the dignity of the human embryo, this is a small step in the right direction,” said David Jones, director of the center formerly known as the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics, serving the Catholic Church in Great Britain and Ireland.
“The court has acted with clear and commendable ethical consistency in judging that if it is wrong to profit from destroying human embryos, then it is wrong to profit from cells that are derived from destroying human embryos,” Jones said.
“It should not matter if someone else has destroyed the embryos for you,” he added. “Inventions that rely on using human embryos both profit from and encourage their destruction. This clear decision closes a loophole left by the European Patent Office.”
The ruling, Jones explained, does not prevent human embryos from being destroyed or stop scientists from using human embryos in research, “but it does make it more difficult for commercial companies to profit from this destruction.”
The bishops of the European Union also welcomed the ruling. “This judgment can foster existing and promising fields of research, which can combine the respect of human life with efficient and innovative treatments for healing people,” the bishops said.