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STOCKHOLM, Sweden – In the largest effort of its kind in European Union history, nearly 2 million citizens have sign a petition that demands an end to EU funding of abortion or any activity that destroys unborn human life.
The One of Us initiative seeks a ban on all EU funds for “activities which presuppose the destruction of human embryos, in particular in the areas of research, development aid and public health.”
One of the major concerns of organizers and signatories is that the Brussels-based EU continues to fund abortion overseas – primarily in poor countries – under the guise of population control and “sexual health.”
Despite widespread objections and potential legal conflicts, the EU also continues to provide taxpayer funding to two of the largest abortion providers in the world, International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International.
Other organizations that perform, support and facilitate abortion worldwide also receive large amounts of EU funding, according to a 2012 report by European Dignity Watch.
While estimates vary, in all, the EU has provided hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to organizations that perpetrate or encourage abortion.
If the One of Us initiative is approved by policymakers, that will all come to an end.
Taxpayer-funded abortion within the union, however, would not be affected, as the EU has no authority over member states in that area. Just three of 28 national governments in the union currently protect the right to life: Poland, Malta and Ireland.
The One of Us alliance is also hoping to end all EU funding for scientific and medical research that in any way destroys human embryos, such as embryonic stem cell research.
“The EU must take this seriously because we have to care for life, ” said Benedicta Lindberg, the One of Us coordinator for Sweden and the secretary-general for the Swedish pro-Life movement Respekt.
“Without caring for life, there is no European Union – there will be no EU in the future if you don’t care about people, ” Lindberg told WND.
“The EU needs to care about people from the beginning of life – about everybody, not just those with big money and influence, ” she added. “Even the tiniest ones among us deserve respect; every single human being.”
The historic campaign, which uses a relatively new mechanism introduced into the EU allowing citizens to petition Brussels for action, is the first successful effort of its kind since the European Citizens’ Initiative in the Lisbon Treaty came into effect.
Its success shocked the political establishment and has already drawn the ire of pro-abortion forces from across the bloc.
Supporters and pro-life activists, though, said the stunning campaign was a positive sign that illustrates broader trends in Europe.
“The One of Us citizenship initiative is proof that when the average European is given a voice, then more often than not they choose life, ” said Senior Legal Counsel for Europe Roger Kiska with the Alliance Defending Freedom.
“In this case nearly 2 million Europeans strong have sent a message to Brussels that they will no longer tolerate the use of their hard earned money to fund abortions or the destruction of the embryo, ” Kiska told WND.