France bans plastinated body exhibits

France has become the first country to ban the controversial Our Body exhibits, which displays plastinated corpses stripped of their skin in grotesque poses.?The Cour de Cassion, the nation’s highest judicial authority, has ruled that "the exposure of corpses for commercial purposes" violates the Civil Code, which states that "the remains of deceased persons should be treated with respect, dignity and decency".

Legal experts were surprised. This had been the reason alleged by the first body to ban the exhibit, the National Advisory Committee on Ethics. But when this decision was appealed, two courts supported it but sidestepped the dignity issue. They said that the ban should stand because the bodies could have been those of executed criminals from China. The Cour de Cassion returned to the more fundamental issue.

Two protest groups have been fighting to get the exhibition banned for the past two years, since it was first held in Lyon in 2008.

To date, the organisers claim, more than 30 million people have viewed the exhibit on its tours around the world. ~ AFP, Sept 17; Connexion, Sept 17

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