06.09.2022 (PRESS RELEASE) — In a resolution on global threats to abortion rights adopted today by a large majority, the European Parliament expressed serious concern about the potential eradication of constitutional rights protection for abortion access in the United States.
It is the fourth time the current European Parliament has adopted a resolution addressing roll back of abortion rights. It is the first official response by European or global policy makers to the risk of possible backsliding on abortion rights in the United States ahead of a ruling from the United States Supreme Court that could eliminate the constitutional right to abortion in the United States, opening the possibility for the adoption of ever more extreme abortion laws in the country at state level.
Today’s European Parliament resolution urged Governments across the world to take action to prevent backsliding on sexual and reproductive health and rights. It called on EU Member States to decriminalize abortion and remove remaining barriers to abortion. The resolution acknowledged that over recent decades important progress has been made in protecting reproductive rights and that the trend globally and in Europe has clearly been towards liberalizing access to abortion care. Potential regression in the United States would contradict this trend.
Leah Hoctor, Senior Regional Director for Europe at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said she welcomed the adoption of the resolution by the EU’s only directly elected body:
“As the European Parliament firmly outlined today, the possible regression on abortion rights in the United States gives rise to grave concerns. This resolution sends a clear signal that the roll back of legal protections for abortion is contrary to human rights and must be met with a robust response. Risk of regression requires action to safeguard access to abortion and the time has come for EU decision makers to galvanize efforts across Europe to remove restrictions to abortion.
For decades, Europe’s trajectory has been broadly in favor of strengthened protection for reproductive rights. However, although most European countries have legalized abortion, many of these countries’ laws contain outdated and antiquated barriers to access care.
Mandatory waiting periods, residual criminal provisions regarding abortion and biased counselling requirements are just some examples of the kind of problematic barriers still present in many European laws. These contravene international human rights standards and World Health Organization guidance.
The COVID pandemic showcased the necessity of removing these medically unnecessary barriers in access to abortion that delay timely access to care and perpetuate harmful stigma.
Meanwhile the impact of the war in Ukraine has provided us all with a stark reminder of the grave human impact of bans on abortion. Refugees from Ukraine seeking abortion care in Poland are confronted by one of Europe’s few remaining near total-bans on abortion.”
Risa Kaufman, Director, U.S. Human Rights at the Center for Reproductive Rights said:
“The resolution by the European Parliament reflects the growing and profound concern within the global community over abortion regression in the United States, where abortion access is under increasing attack. Its call to action is imperative. As the Supreme Court considers Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and the state of Mississippi’s invitation to overturn nearly 50 years of precedent protecting the U.S. constitutional right to abortion, anti-abortion politicians in the United States are accelerating their efforts to make abortion inaccessible and even ban it outright. This clear regression of a well-established fundamental right violates human rights and will have the gravest impact on people who already face discriminatory obstacles to health care, particularly Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, people with disabilities, people in rural areas, people who are undocumented, young people, and those having difficulty making ends meet.”