Listen to this BosNewsLife News report via Vatican Radio:
Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (BosNewsLife)-- Anti-abortion activists have welcomed a ruling by a Hungarian court which found eight people guilty over harvesting embryonic stem cells and tissue for use in cosmetics, amid government efforts to protect life from the moment of conception.
Advocacy group ADF International confirmed to BosNewsLife and Vatican Radio that the City Court of Budapest sentenced eight people for plotting to sell embryonic stem cells derived from aborted babies on the black market for cosmetic procedures.
The case centered on illegal activities at a plastic surgery clinic in the southern city of Kaposvár, where hundreds of patients had agreed to be injected with the embryonic cells and tissue for $25,000 per treatment.
Defendants got large monetary fines or suspended prison sentences, each determined by the individual’s degree of involvement in the crime. Among those sentenced is a Hungarian television star Ádám Fásy, who apparently became rich as a result of starting beauty pageants in Hungary.
A clinic receptionist, detained with the others in 2009, avoided criminal charges because she was reportedly not aware of the controversial procedures.
In reaching its conclusion, the court cited arguments filed in the case by ADF International. The advocacy group had said that “the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that life begins from the moment of conception and that human embryos cannot be used for “industrial or commercial purposes.”
It also argued that Article 1 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union “calls for the protection of human dignity and guarantees to everyone respect for their physical integrity within the context of biology and medicine.”
“Any baby deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, not as a commodity for commercial gain,” added ADF International Deputy Director Roger Kiska in a statement to Vatican Radio.
“We commend the court for ruling strongly against this horrific and inhuman practice and outlawing this kind of hideous black market. A civilised society values the precious lives of children and does not reduce them to commodities in elective cosmetic procedures.”
The court's ruling comes amid wider debate in Hungary over human life.
Hungary's center right government used its two-third majority in Parliament to adopt a new Constitution which specifically mentions that life of a fetus is protected from the moment of conception.
Pro-life activists say however that the Hungarian case wasn’t the first instance when cells from aborted children were used in cosmetics.
A San Francisco company was found in 2012 to be selling cosmetic and dermatological products from aborted fetal tissue, and several American food and soda companies allegedly used the cells in flavor testing.