ROME—Personhood petitioners in the European Union have collected more than 1,000,000 signatures in at least 11 countries, surpassing the requirements to call for legislation from the European Commission. The “One of Us” initiative is only the second European Citizens’ Initiative in history to reach the petition requirements established by the Commission.
Personhood USA endorsed the Vatican-backed petition after the 2012 Global Pro-Life Unity Summit in Portugal. Representatives from the “One of Us” campaign attended the summit and expressed their desire to pursue a European personhood initiative using the grassroots initiative methodology pioneered in the United States. The “One of Us” petition shares the spirit of the Lisbon Declaration released by participants of the summit.
The initiative’s goal is “to advance the protection of human life from conception in Europe – within the possibilities of the competency of the EU.” It would force the European Union to act upon protections for the human embryo previously acknowledged by the European Court of Justice and would ban EU financing of abortion and other embryonic destruction.
Pope Francis personally endorsed the European personhood campaign during a surprise visit to the March for Life in Rome. “It brings me great joy to see that so many Italian parishes are taking part in the pro-life signature campaign,” Pope Francis said. “This initiative titled, ‘One of Us,’ guarantees the legal protection of the embryo, protecting human life from the very start.”
Personhood USA commends the effort of European personhood supporters and welcomes the Pope’s endorsement of personhood initiatives designed to protect human life from the very beginning.