Conference in the European Parliament on the Ethics of Reproductive Medicine
On Wednesday, May 2, 2018 the Council of the Community of Protestants Churches in Europe (CPCE) presented its book “Before I formed you in the womb…” at the European Parliament in Brussels. The event was hosted by MEP Margrete Auken, Group of Greens/European Free Alliance, with the support of the Conference of European Churches (CEC). The book is a guide to the ethics of reproductive medicine and represents the outcome of more than three years of scientific research conducted by the CPCE Expert Group on Ethics. Opening the conference, Prof. Dr. Neil Messer (University of Winchester), offered a general introduction into the guide by mentioning the medical and scientific context, the social and cultural context and, last but not least, the Church’s concerns for reproductive medicine. During the panel discussion, delegates and experts in theology, medicine and law took the floor and expressed their views on topics such as: in vitro fertilization, surrogacy, cloning and pre-natal genetic diagnosis. Prof. Dr. Ulla Schmidt (Aarhus University) discussed the ethical challenges resulting from progress in research and novel therapies, including the question of savior siblings and designer babies. In his turn, MEP Dr. Peter Liese from the Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) raised his concerns on embryo donation, analyzing the risks of multiple embryos transfer. The thematic conclusions of the conference stated some practical recommendations and identified areas where further work should be done. MEP Margrete Auken emphasized that although some European countries have a specific legislation on the topic at stake, some improvements of the legal framework are still needed, both at local and European level. The CPCE is the umbrella organization of the protestant churches which brings together 94 Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed and United churches from over thirty countries in Europe and South America. In the specialist circles on Ethics and Ecumenics it has two expert bodies which enable it to speak on important ecclesiastical and political developments and bring the position of the churches into the channels of politics and civil society.