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Is the Giordano Bruno Stiftung "Anti-Disabled"?

Statement by gbs directorate


Humankind as the measure of all things

Prior to the award ceremony for the initiators of the Great Ape Project, sporadic accusations occurred that the gbs represented "positions hostile towards the disabled". Not only referring to the "reputation" of Peter Singer, who was awarded the "Ethik-Preis der Giordano-Bruno-Stiftung" alongside Paola Cavalieri for his animal rights activism, but also to the "PGD expert opinion of the gbs Ethics Commission", which recommends a liberal legal regulation.

Given the allegations that have been made, we would like to clarify four points without any further confusion:

1. Of course (!) we assume that EVERY human being has an unconditional right to life from birth - and it does not matter whether this human being is disabled in any way or not!

2. We are convinced that this society needs to take far more measures to support disabled or severely ill people (and their families!). After all, it is an undeniable humanistic obligation to create the social preconditions for every human being to lead a life worth living - and this requires special help for those who are particularly dependent on help. Those denouncing this principle of solidarity should not call themselves "humanists".

3. PGD is not about sentient humans, but about non-sentient embryos consisting of just a few cells. We believe that it is contrary to the principles of a modern constitutional state to prohibit parents from examining the developmental potential of embryos intended to be implanted in women's uteruses. In this context, it should not be forgotten that the current practice (without embryo control) causes miscarriages, which are mentally and physically highly stressful for the affected women.

4. Anyone associating PGD or humane suicide assistance with Nazi atrocities not only insults those who are fighting for more self-determination today, but also derides the victims of fascism! The National Socialists were not concerned with a "good death" (euthanasia), but with the systematic mass murder of mentally ill and disabled people. It is completely unacceptable (and hostile towards people with disabilities!) to equate the victims of this mass murder with selected embryos that are incapable of any sensations! Especially those who stand up for the rights of severely ill or disabled people should vigorously defend themselves against such comparisons!


(The comments on the allegations made against us in recent days can also be found in this PDF document (German language). We hope that our arguments can help preventing the recurrence of incidents described by Peter Singer in the appendix to the "revised and extended edition 1994" of his book "Practical Ethics".)