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21 / 02 / 2008 - French cardinal says legal status of the unborn should be recognized
The Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, has expressed his support of a decision by a French court to grant legal status to the unborn.
The ruling, which unleashed the anger of feminist and pro-abortion organizations in Europe, declared that embryos less than 22 weeks old and that weigh more than one pound are persons under the law.
The decision comes after three copules, whose miscarried fetuses fell below the previous limit of 22 weeks, sued to register them as family members and give their children a burial. The court agreed the limits were not legally binding and permitted registration. The ruling is now in the hands of the Court of Appeals.
“The law in France never legalized abortion, it decriminalized it,” Cardinal Vingt-Trois said in an interview with Ouest-France. “We hope the court of Appeals will decide to legitimize the registering of the embryo as a member of the family,” he added.
“The position of the Church,” he explained, “is that the embryo must be treated as a person.”
Cardinal Vingt-Trois, who is in the city of Rennes with 60 other French bishops to discuss the defense of human life, recalled that the 1975 law that permitted abortion in France “does not establish a right,” and that over the last 50 years the embryo has been increasingly treated as a thing.
“We must respect both the beginning of life and the end,” the cardinal stated.