The European Parliament today rejected a report that recommended that EU nations declare abortion to be a human right and to make abortion available within all public health systems of member countries. Adoption of the report would have placed more pressure on pro-life nations like Ireland, Poland and Malta to legalize abortion on demand.
“The report states that 20 member nations permit abortion on demand (generally with a gestational limit). Of the seven remaining nations, three have very liberal restrictions regarding abortion while three nations will perform abortions only under more limited circumstances,” says pro-life analyst Nora Sullivan. “The measure the European Parliament is now considering contains no limits regarding gestational age – leaving open the possibility of elective-abortion-until-day-of-birth as a human right. Doubly disturbing are the severe infringement on conscience protections of physicians (specifically gynecologists and anesthesiologists) that are proposed.”
“This measure claims to be a human rights issue yet it fundamentally ignores the human rights of the three key people involved in this tragic act. It ignores the most basic right, the right to life, of the baby at the center of the whole issue. It ignores women’s real needs by hiding them behind the iron curtain of abortion rhetoric. And it ignores the conscience of the doctor, who is being asked to end a human life after spending years training how to preserve it,” Sullivan said. “The European Union should not be asking physicians to suppress their consciences; it should be trying to find its own.”
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.
The report asserts that currently, in countries where abortion is legal, it is often rendered unavailable due to physicians’ “abuse of conscientious objection or overly restrictive interpretations of existing limits.”
The proposed legislation seeks to require member nations 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.”
The report goes on to state, “There are cases reported from Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Ireland and Italy where nearly 70 per cent of all gynecologists and 40 per cent of all anesthesiologists conscientiously object to providing abortion services.”
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The Times of Malta has more on how the vote went.
Anna Zaborska, a pro-life Slovak Member of the European Parliament and former Chairwoman of the Committee of Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, has stated that the report cannot be used to establish a “right to abortion.”
“No person, hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable or discriminated against in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist or submit to practices which could cause the death of a human embryo,” Ms. Zaborska said.