BHA issues joint statement defending maternal health from anti-choice campaigners in Europe

10 April, 2014

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has today signed a joint statement in support of stem cell and reproductive health research in Europe.

Along with 30 other signatory organisations and a number of European politicians, we have called for the European Commission to resist ‘One of Us,’ a European Citizen’s Initiative campaign which seeks to ban any activities which could involve the destruction of human embryos.  A hearing at the European Parliament will discuss the One of Us campaign, and the Commission must give formal comment on it before 28 May.

If successful, this campaign would result in deaths to almost 800 women each day as the Commission would be obliged to cut off all funding for organisations which provide abortions or ‘abortion-related services’ in low and middle-income countries. It would also scrap funding for all research on human embryonic stem cells.

‘The organisers of One of Us have used the pretext of the protection of life to seek to impose anti-choice legislation that would be damaging for women’s health, researchers’ work and regenerative medicine,’ stated Pierre Galand, President of the European Humanist Federation (EHF).

Other groups to sign the statement include the EHF, the British Heart Foundation, the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Medicine, and the Wellcome Trust.

BHA Head of Public Affairs and EHF Vice Chair Pavan Dhaliwal commented, ‘This is the latest in a recent string of attempts from far-right groups to impose limits on the sexual and reproductive rights of women in Europe. We strongly urge the Commission to reject the One of Us campaign and stand up for the rights and indeed the lives of women around the world, and also to ensure that important research into treatments using stem cells is not impacted by this vicious campaign.’


For further comment or information contact Pavan Dhaliwal, BHA Head of Public Affairs and EHF Vice Chair, at or on 0773 843 5059.

Read the statement:

Read the background briefing document from the Wellcome Trust:

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.