European Parliament stands for human dignity

From the European Dignity Watch, a non-governmental and non-profit organization based in Europe’s capital Brussels.

The European Dignity Watch Network is composed of national and international non-governmental organisations, opinion makers, experts and interested individuals who work on safeguarding an environment in which the human person can flourish.

English: Belgium, Bruxelles - Brussel, Europea...

Belgium, Bruxelles – Brussel, European Parliament. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Tuesday 22 October, the EU-Parliament voted on a Report on Sexual  and Reproductive Health and Rights claiming a fundamental right to abortion that aims at politically neutralize the European Citizen Initiative “One of Us“. The resolution also calls for an improvement of State regulation to limit the exercise of the freedom of religions, conscience and conscientious objection.

It calls for an EU wide compulsory sex education in primary schools “provided in a taboo-free interactive atmosphere between students and educators” and must convey a positive image of homosexuality. The 40-pages resolution reads like a manual on how to restrict fundamental freedoms in Europe. MEPs must vote therefore to adopt the Motion for an Alternative Resolution.

As reaction to the popular success of the European Citizen Initiative “One of Us” on the implementation of EU case law C-34/10 – stating that the human being starts with conception and that the human embryo represents a precise stage of development of the human body, its human dignity is protected by the relevant legal instruments -, the EU-Parliament voted, Tuesday 22 October, in Strasbourg one week before the deadline of “One of Us”, one of the most successful citizen campaigns in recent European history, on a resolution promoting free and safe abortion for all (Estrela report A7-0306/2013).

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In a loud and lively debate that is not often seen in this intensity at the European Parliament, a majority of MEPs voted for a referral back to committee of the highly controversial Estrela report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. European Dignity Watch reported.

After the voting was complete, 351 MEPs voted to send the pro-abortion bill back to committee while 319 voted against the move to zap the legislation.

Reproductive Health Ribbon

Reproductive Health Ribbon (Photo credit: Jason Licerio)

Although an alternative resolution, which sought to promote a dignified vision of maternal health, protect freedom of conscience and healthy sexual education for children, was not adopted, it is called a great victory that the report has not been adopted and Pro-lifers in the European Parliament scored a major victory.

A referral back to committee will give time to investigate further the numerous problematic points of this report, especially the fact that it was co-written by the commercial abortion organisation International Planned Parenthood Federation in Brussels.

In the weeks leading up to the vote today, there has been growing awareness among MEPs of the deep problems related to an understanding of sexual and reproductive health that puts hypersexualisation of children from the earliest age on, a ‘right to abortion’ for all and a severe limitation of freedom of conscience at its centre.

Tuesday, Parliament has sent a clear signal that this radical approach is not shared by the majority.

“We are very happy that not only Parliament came to its senses today with regards to sexual and reprductive health, but also that the voice of 1.4 Million citizens who signed the European Citizen Initiative “One of Us” for a greater protection of human dignity are heard and represented in today’s decision”, says executive director of European Dignity Watch, Sophia Kuby.

S&D Euro MP Edite Estrela (Portugal), who drafted the resolution, said after the vote that Conservative MEPs wanted to “set women’s rights back 30 years”.

“I deeply regret the decision taken today. On several occasions, this Parliament has recognised the right for everyone to make their own informed and responsible choices on their sexual and reproductive life,” she said.

“The draft resolution was approved by the women’s committee with a strong majority of 17 votes in favour, 7 abstentions and 7 against. By not respecting the outcome of the vote in parliamentary committee, the conservatives want to set women’s rights back 30 years.”

Pavan Dhaliwal, BHA Head of Public Affairs, commented

‘This is an excellent report which aims to ensure that young people across Europe are entitled to decent and age-appropriate SRE, that women can access safe and legal abortion services, and which pushes to strengthen LGBTI rights. Unfortunately, its progress has been stalled by yesterday’s vote because socially conservative religious groups have been frantically lobbying MEPs to reject it. These socially conservative groups wish to deny women, LGBTI people, and young people in general their right to access sexual and reproductive health services, and their right to decent Sex and Relationships Education. They are trying to hold back the advances in human rights and personal freedoms which have taken place in Europe over the past few decades, and they are fighting a losing battle.’

Roger Kiska with the Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF said earlier:

“The European Parliament’s proposed resolution is an affront to national sovereignty, a breach of their duty to the citizens of the European Union and worst of all an unsolicited attack on innocent human life.

The notion that abortion on demand could be declared a human right flies in the face of the facts. In reality, it is a “clear” violation of real human rights.

Pro-life and pro-family organizations are on the rise, but pro-abortion forces are still strong within government institutions and the European Parliament.

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Find also:

Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality – Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A7-2013-306&language=EN

MEPs who voted for and against sending the Report back to the Committee: http://www.lgbt-ep.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/RCV-Vote-on-referral-back-to-FEMM.pdf

Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on PSHE and Sex and Relationships Education: http://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/schools-and-education/school-curriculum/pshe-and-sex-and-relationships-education/

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  • Vote to elevate abortion to ‘human right’ (wnd.com)
    Despite escalating political opposition and the lack of legal jurisdiction, the full European Parliament is set to vote on a resolution declaring abortion and mandatory sexual education for children to be “human rights,” while launching an undisguised attack on the conscientious-objection rights of medical professionals.The deeply controversial “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” measure, backed by powerful Socialist Party forces and Planned Parenthood, has already been approved in committee.

    However, critics of the resolution are attacking it on multiple fronts – legal, ethical, human rights centered, pragmatic and more – and opposition is growing fast as pro-life and pro-family forces rally against it.

  • Religious lobby groups block report on sexual and reproductive rights in European Parliament (humanism.org.uk)
    The Report calls for universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights throughout Europe. It covers issues such as abortion rights, LGBTI rights and young people’s entitlement to decent SRE. It calls for access to safe and legal abortion services, comprehensive education on sexuality, teaching about negative LGBTI stereotypes and teaching on the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections. It also recommends against the mandatory sterilisation of transgender persons, calls for universal access to medically assisted procreation for single women and lesbian couples, and calls for the right to access non-discriminatory information about sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • EU Measure Seeks to Declare Abortion a ‘Human Right’ (cnsnews.com)
    Even in countries where abortion is legal, the report states, it is often made unavailable “through the abuse of conscientious objection or overly restrictive interpretations of existing limits.”  Other obstacles include “medically unnecessary waiting periods or biased counseling.”(Some E.U. countries have compulsory waiting period of up to seven days and pre-abortion counseling, either for all women or in some cases for adolescents only.)

    The measure would therefore require member states to “regulate and monitor the use of conscientious objection so as to ensure that reproductive health care is guaranteed as an individual’s right, while access to lawful services is ensured and appropriate and affordable referrals systems are in place.”

  • Tories vote with BNP to ‘set womens’ rights back 30 years’ (leftfootforward.org)
    Tory MEPs have voted with the BNP in the European Parliament against a resolution supporting womens’ sexual and reproductive health after caving in to pressure from ‘pro-life’ activists.Tory mepsFour Tory MEPs yesterday voted against a report which called for a rights-based approach to access to sexual and reproductive healthcare that is free from discrimination, despite the fact that even UKIP MEPs backed it.
  • Pro-lifers score victory in European Parliament (catholicherald.co.uk)
    The report exposed data on adolescent birth rates and on unwanted pregnancies showing that in many countries where abortion is not permitted women are obliged to “travel to other MS to have an abortion”, so, she said, “it is evident that the ban on abortion does not encourage decreasing its rate”.Moreover, MsEstrela stated that the focus on family policies to face the demographic crisis is spreading the idea that permitting abortion would be a factor of population decrease whereas a ban on it would increase births. The report said “the birth rate in Europe would certainly be more efficiently supported by the improvement of the possibilities for mothers and fathers to better balance their private and professional lives”.
  • Ep May Declare Abortion a ‘Human Right’ in Vote on Tuesday | Tmi (andrewazzopardi.org)
    Critics see the move as an attempt to dictate abortion policy to individual European Union governments, despite an acknowledgement by leading EU institutions that there is no consensus on the matter across the EU’s 28 member-states.The EP’s committee passed the controversial draft report last month on women’s rights and gender equality.

    Twenty EU member states legally permit abortion on demand, while six others have limitations that are either interpreted broadly (Britain, Finland, Cyprus) or restrictively (Ireland, Poland, Luxembourg).

    Malta prohibits all abortions.

    Even in countries where abortion is legal, the report states, it is often made unavailable “through the abuse of conscientious objection or overly restrictive interpretations of existing limits”. Other obstacles include “medically unnecessary waiting periods or biased counselling”. Some EU countries have compulsory waiting period of up to seven days and pre-abortion counselling, either for all women or in some cases for adolescents only.

  • European Parliament Votes Against Making Abortion a Human Right (freebeacon.com)
    Conscientious objections by doctors and existing legal limits on abortion were singled out by the report as reasons for forcing EU member states to guarantee abortion as an individual’s right.
  • European Parliament rejects resolution declaring abortion a fundamental ‘human right’ (aconservativeedge.wordpress.com)
    Pro-life lobbyists at the European Union are declaring a victory after the European Parliament rejected a resolution that would have declared abortion to be a ‘human right,’ and demanded that all EU countries legalize the practices.
  • Vote to elevate abortion to ‘Human Right’ (webporter.wordpress.com)
    Despite escalating political opposition and the lack of legal jurisdiction, the full European Parliament is set to vote on a resolution declaring abortion and mandatory sexual education for children to be “human rights,” while launching an undisguised attack on the conscientious-objection rights of medical professionals.The deeply controversial “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” measure, backed by powerful Socialist Party forces and Planned Parenthood, has already been approved in committee.

    However, critics of the resolution are attacking it on multiple fronts – legal, ethical, human rights centered, pragmatic and more – and opposition is growing fast as pro-life and pro-family forces rally against it.

7 thoughts on “European Parliament stands for human dignity

  1. Michael Cashman (S&D ) of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament replied:
    – Mr President, I would like to say, as a gay man standing here, that I feel absolutely positive about myself and other sexual minorities. I find staggering the number of men who have spoken tonight against the rights of women: the right of a woman to have full human rights and to decide what to do with her body, and the rights of young people, old people, men and women, to decide to explore their sexuality and to get information through education about such life-threatening chances. To deny a woman a right to abortion, as we saw in Ireland and as we see elsewhere, can take the lives of women every single day in every single country in this world.

    Parliament should therefore be absolutely clear that we define sexual and reproductive health rights as fundamental to this Union, fundamental to our external policies, and fundamental to development. In the end, I respect religious belief, but not the right of you to impose your religion on others and thereby deny them their fundamental human rights.

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