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“One of us”- phase 2. The defence of life is a challenging chore, but there’s no going back

Following European Commission rejection of the citizen’s Initiative “One of Us”, the battle to protect the embryo makes a fresh start thanks to a global institution. Jurist Carlo Casini hereby describes its origin, goals and instruments. The guiding figure of Mother Teresa, the Pope’s words, the inspiration of the Year of Mercy






“It’s a challenging, uphill road, given opposite mainstream positions. However, it’s a necessary, in fact indispensable endeavour and there’s no going back.” Carlo Casini is like a river in full flood. Born in 1935, magistrate, internationally renowned jurist, MP in Italy and later MEP for five legislatures, longtime chairman of the Italian Movement for Life. He firmly believes that the battle for the defence of life – and in particular the protection of the embryo – must not be renounced. Thus, after having contributed to the implementation of the European citizens’ initiative (an instrument for participatory democracy and legislation under the Lisbon Treaty) named “One of us”, and having collected nearly 2 million signatures across the continent, Casini was in no way discouraged by the “rejection” submitted by the EU Commission in May 2014. “The seemingly negative outcome was overcome with the creation of a Federation “, called” One of us, for human life and dignity”, presented to the public at large with a great event held in Paris on 12 March. The commitment for life, Casini pointed out, shall not cease.

Phase 2 of “One of Us” has begun. Why?
The practical goal pursued by the European citizens’ initiative “One of Us” was to ensure the commitment of European institutions to never further the death of human beings. But

the Commission bolted before a fundamental question: the conceived being is a subject or an object? Is it a thing of a person?

Put in simple terms to avoid juridical or philosophical speculations: is he or not “one of us”? In fact, we firmly believe that the embryo is a human being. Moreover, also on the legal and political planes, before a doubt – as nobody has had the courage to claim that the embryo is not a human life – the “precautionary principle” should prevail. And given the doubts on whether the embryo is a human being there ensues that it cannot be suppressed!

“One of Us” has become a permanent Federation, joined by over 25 pro-life organizations, with the involvement of citizens in over twenty Countries. Its chairman is Spanish ex-Minister, MEP, Jaime Mayor Oreja. You are honorary chairman. Honorary – albeit always busy… What does phase 2 envisage?
We intend to call upon the European cultural realm to take action with the testimony of experts: scientists, doctors, jurists, politicians.

We are facing an epochal, fundamental problem, and it is necessary to state in clear words that life must be defended at all times, and that policymakers and scientists should take action to protect it and let it thrive, not to annihilate it.

That is what we are asking of experts. Indeed, aggressive forms against emerging human life have dramatically increased and its defence has been almost totally entrusted to freedom of conscience. But human conscience must be enlightened, and sometimes it requires courage. Courage is not something irrational. It should be rationally motivated. The only strong motivation is recognizing the conceived child as one of us.

In concrete terms?
To ensure that the initiative “One of Us” fully achieves its goals – notably rekindling the sensitivity of European culture, and consequently public awareness – it will be necessary to collect adhesions to the appeals and testimonies of the experts as previously mentioned, consolidated and defined by pro-life movements across all EU28 Countries. Thus also depending on the forces and resources available, we intend to distribute informative leaflets to doctors, law-enforcement officers and politicians. Then we wish to continue bringing forth our cultural commitment through our website (, with national meetings and publications.

Where is the movement active the most?
We have registered major involvement in Spain, France, Poland. Positive signs also come from Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia … But Germany and the United Kingdom in particular are expected to take action now. Italy’s commitment is long-standing, and it feels the need to set the example.

What’s next on the agenda?
The executive board of the Federation will meet in Krakow on April 22 to draw a balance of the situation today, and to plan further initiatives. September 4 – the date of Mother Teresa’s canonization – is also an opportunity to raise awareness, as Mother Teresa of Calcutta is a symbol of concrete, operative defence of life.

This is the Year of Mercy. Does it relate to One of Us?
It does indeed. In this Jubilee called by Pope Francis, much reflection has focused on the figure of the Samaritan. At some point on his journey the Samaritan met a man who was beaten and left in an isolated place, in a state of desperation. A lost life… The Samaritan decided not to look the other way but to take care of him. Before abortion, which in many cases is tragedy involving the individual or the whole family, it would be easy to turn a blind eye. Instead, to accompany those mothers, making them feel supported, finding ways to help them to the point of saving a new life, is an act of mercy.

In fact, accompanying a new life is an act of mercy. It is an act of mercy to stop and recognize one of us.



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