anti-choice alliance within the European Parliament narrowly voted last week to
shelve a report that put reproductive rights on the same level as human rights,
arguing that those issues are not the concern of the parliament and should be
dealt with on a national level. The report speaks of the prevalence of teenage
pregnancy, the importance of making contraception widely available, comprehensive
sex education and quality family planning services. It also says that women
have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, timing and spacing
of their children and underlines the importance of safe abortions.
The author of the report, Portuguese
Member of Parliament Edite Estrela, summed it up as being about giving
everybody the right to make “their own informed and responsible choices on
their sexual and reproductive life.”
against the resolution provoked an immediate and frustrated response from
members of parliament, according to EUobserver.com:
Estrela said the alliance had opened a “new front against the EU’s founding
principles of human dignity, freedom, equality and non-discrimination.”
A member representing Austria said the center-right in Parliament had brought “shame” on the parliament, and that the non-binding agreement didn’t try to impose a “universal view” on abortion.
Rather, the emphasis was on making sure that where abortion is legal, it is safe.
countries like Poland and Ireland, for example, abortion is legal in limited
circumstances such as when a woman’s life is in danger or in instances of rape
or incest, but women are still unable to access services. In both countries,
the Center is working to make sure that women have access to abortion where the
law provides it while simultaneously pressing for legal reforms that yield
expanded legal access.