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I am hearing the Twilight Zone music right now.  Can I borrow Rod Serling’s voice when I need it?  I think I need it right now.  Let’s start with Sandy agrees with an European bureaucrat.  That alone might cause the EU to tremble in fright…here’s the scoop:

A French advocate-general has reported (shout out to Real Clear Science) to the European Court of Justice that it is illegal and unethical for companies to patent research derived from embryonic stem cell research.  Yes, that’s right.  A French lawyer/judge says embryonic stem cell research cannot be patented.  Here’s one article:

A fledgling biosciences industry that promises to revolutionise medicine in the 21st century could be destroyed by a French judge who has declared it immoral to patent inventions based on cells derived from human embryos.

I know; it’s tough to imagine a French judge working for a European court taking a stand on a moral issue.  Just when my head was beginning to get around this, I read about the suit:  It was brought, not by a tiny pro-life group, but by Greenpeace – that’s right – the pro-global warming, anti-nuclear power, occasional civilly disobedient environmental wacko group that is anathema to just about everything Sandy stands for!

Here’s is what is reported about Greenpeace’s suit to stop the patenting of human embryos:

The case was presented in November 2009 by the German Federal Supreme Court, which had requested clarification of the legal definitions of human embryos in relation to patentability after it had trouble adjudicating a challenge to Brüstle’s patent from the environmental organization Greenpeace, based in Amsterdam. Greenpeace said that the patent was unethical because hES cell lines are derived from human embryos.  (emphasis mine!)

Sandy’s about to faint…catch me!  I had to find this in another place to believe it:

“Our aim with this case was to clarify the scope of protection of human embryos,” Christoph Then, an adviser to Greenpeace, told Bloomberg. “This goes in the right direction and we have to wait for the court’s final decision now.”

Could Greenpeace be going pro-life?  I think I better lay down for a few minutes.  Wait!  There’s more:  The advocate-general held that because the stem cells came originally from a human embryo, the results cannot be patented:

The advocate general said so-called pluripotent embryonic stem cells, such as those Bruestle used, don’t fall under the definition of embryo because “they are no longer capable of developing into a complete human being.” Still, it isn’t possible to ignore the origin of these stem cells, he said.

A technical process which requires “either the destruction of human embryos, or their use as base material,” can’t be patented, Bot said.

I don’t think I took any LSD today!  This is an astounding story:  A European court is about to issue a preliminary ruling that research involving human embryos cannot be patented.  Of course the reaction will be predictable – the scientists are all in a fuss:

Sir Ian [Wilmut who led the team that cloned Dolly the sheep] and 12 other leading stem- cell researchers said the ruling – if followed by the judges of the European court – would effectively end all research on embryonic stem cells, which have the unique ability to develop into any of the dozens of cell types that make up the human body.

This legal decision would have the potential of making abortion illegal in the European Union!  And therefore, I fear it will not be adopted by the EU court.  Too many constituencies will oppose it:  Scientists, woman’s rights groups, liberal theologians and probably Planned Parenthood, too.  But today, a touch of righteousness has hit Europe.  Like a bad dinner, they’ll probably renounce it.  Okay, Tom White, stop with the Twilight Zone theme!


About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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