Proposing Dubious New European Rules for “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”

Following the report submitted by MEP Predrag Fred Matic, the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) adopted a motion for a resolution “concerning sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU” on May 10th -11th. The proposal, which is very ideologically oriented at this stage, has yet to be finalized, for the plenary session debate scheduled for June.

The term “sexual and reproductive health and rights” is inherently ambiguous. Under the guise of women’s health, this confusing terminology is being used to trivialize the sensitive issue of abortion, which is not within its’ jurisdiction.

Moreover, the text does not take into account the ethical, social and cultural dimensions of abortion. It attacks the right to conscientious objection by claiming that healthcare professionals could “choose not to provide the products and services to which they are morally opposed, including abortion or … contraceptive methods.”  The right to conscientious objection is guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Article 10.2). The conscience clause regarding abortion is also clearly and explicitly stated in Resolution 1763 (2010) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

Although this type of document is not binding, it does voice an opinion. Nonetheless, in this case, it does not fall under European jurisdiction. Indeed, other feminine issues should be given priority to ensure suitable assistance for mothers, to prevent infertility, and to fight all forms of surrogacy, which constitute a serious violation of women’s rights, not only in Europe, but throughout the world.

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