Court finds 8 defendants guilty of illegally harvesting embryonic stems cells for commercial gain
BUDAPEST, Hungary – The City Court of Budapest has found eight people guilty of illegally harvesting embryonic stem cells and tissue from aborted babies and using them for profit in cosmetic procedures.
In reaching its conclusion against such use, the court cited a March 2013 friend-of-the-court brief that ADF International filed in the case and made use of the brief’s arguments in reaching the verdict.
Any baby deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, not as a commodity for commercial gain…
“Any baby deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, not as a commodity for commercial gain,” said ADF International Deputy Director Roger Kiska. “We commend the court for ruling strongly against this horrific and inhuman practice and outlawing this kind of hideous black market. A civilised society values the precious lives of children and does not reduce them to commodities in elective cosmetic procedures.”
In July 2009, police arrested nine people for using embryonic stem cells and tissues from aborted children for commercial gain. At a Kaposvár clinic specialising in plastic surgery, hundreds of patients agreed to be injected with the cells and tissue for $25,000 US per treatment. The procedure was not approved by medical authorities or the Ethics Committee of Hungary’s Scientific Advisory Board.
The court rendered judgments ranging from large monetary fines to prison sentences depending on the person’s level of involvement in the crime. The receptionist of the clinic was the only defendant exempt from criminal charges since no proof existed that she was aware of the illegal activity taking place.
According to the ADF International brief filed in the case, “the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that, in the context of European patent law, life begins from the moment of conception” and that human embryos cannot be used for “industrial or commercial purposes.”
The brief also explained that Article 1 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union “calls for the protection of human dignity and guarantees to everyone respect for their physical integrity within the context of biology and medicine.”
The brief concluded by affirming that “the use of embryonic stem cells and tissue in a way in which violates the human dignity of the unborn child is criminally unacceptable.” Moreover, “the gross negligence involved in the treatments and utter disdain for both the human life of the aborted children or the clients, all for the sole purpose of financial profit, should be punished with the most serious sentences available to this court.”
ADF International is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organisation that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.