A decision yesterday in the European Parliament gives hope to pro-lifers, after MEPs voted to send a pro-abortion report back to committee.
The report, drafted by Portuguese MEP Edite Estrela, called for making abortion a basic human right and demanded that it be made “legal, safe, and accessible to all.” The report, drafted with assistance from the International Planned Parenthood Federation, stated that
“it is essential for individual, social and economic development that women have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, timing and spacing of their children.”
Following yesterday’s ruling, the report will return to the committee of Women’s Rights and Gender Equality for reconsideration.
The report included an analysis of adolescent birth rates and unwanted pregnancies, showing that in many countries where abortion is not permitted, women are obliged to travel to other countries to have an abortion. This opportunity for cross-border travel, according to the report, demonstrated that a nation’s anti-abortion policy did nothing to decrease the rate of abortion, but only made it more difficult for women.
Additionally, Estrela’s report took objection to the use of family policies to resolve Europe’s current demographic crisis. Rather than banning abortion to increase the faltering European birth rate, Estrada favored other programs which improved the possibility for mothers and fathers to better balance their private and professional lives.
Estrela’s report included also called for comprehensive sexuality education, covering
“a variety of modern methods of family planning and counseling, skilled birth attendance, and the right to access gynecological and obstetric emergency care, and that it is non- judgmental and scientifically accurate about abortion services.”
And in what seems, on reflection, to be a non sequitur in any report on birth control, Estrela stressed the importance of combating negative stereotypes towards gays and lesbians. It’s necessary, she wrote, to
“shed light on gender and sexual orientation discrimination, and structural barriers to substantive equality, as well as emphasize mutual respect and shared responsibility”.
Anyway, for now at least, European nations enjoy sovereignty with regard to abortion legislation in their countries.
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The European Court of Human Rights ruled in December 2010 that Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortion violates the rights of pregnant women to receive proper medical care in life-threatening cases.
In Poland, European courts have demonstrated a strong pro-abortion bias in recent cases. In the case of R.R. v Poland, for example, the European Court of Human Rights challenged Poland’s abortion laws, which are among the strictest in Europe—ruling in favor of a woman who charged that her doctor’s refusal to perform prenatal genetic testing was a violation of her rights under the European Convention of Human Rights. The woman subsequently gave birth to an infant with a life-threatening genetic abnormality.
Further demonstrating the ECHR’s pro-abortion bias, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Health abandoned any appearance of impartiality and intervened in that case as a third-party on behalf of the plaintiff.