European Parliament OKs Review of Lithuania’s Law, Could Affect Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
September 17, 2009
Strasbourg, France (LifeNews.com) — The European Parliament is coming under fire for demanding a review of a European Union member-state’s legislation providing for parental rights. The vote could eventually have an effect on nations that pass pro-life laws on abortion.
"The EU is not supposed to have the power to review the domestic law of member states and this represents a new departure," Pat Buckley, international spokesman for the UK’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said in a statement sent to LifeNews.com.
"The European Parliament has today voted to instruct its Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) to review a new law recently passed in Lithuania," he explained. " The European Parliament has been spurred to this attempt to extend its sphere of influence by the Lithuanian Parliament’s move, which has not yet come into force, but which seeks to stop minority sexual groups seeking to influence children."
MEPs passed the review on a roll-call vote of 349 to 218 with 46 abstentions.
The British pro-life advocate said this isn’t the first time the EU has cracked down on nations that advance pro-life policies.
"The FRA is the direct successor of the body which attacked Slovakia for seeking to protect the right of conscientious objection of pro-life doctors and nurses," he said. "Since it has such a strong pro-abortion track record, we are concerned that the next target will be one of those countries such as Malta or Ireland, that uphold the right to life of the child before birth."
"What is so deeply disturbing is that, firstly, an unelected Agency is being used to interfere in issues beyond the Parliament’s competence, and secondly, that that Agency seems to oppose foundational rights like the right to life of the unborn, freedom of conscience and parental rights," he said.
Buckley added: "On October 2, the Irish republic is being asked to vote again on the Lisbon Treaty. Today’s motion is a timely warning which gives powerful ammunition to opponents of Lisbon."
Piero A. Tozzi, J.D. of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (CFAM) is also concerned about the effect of the vote on abortion.
"The resolution directs the Agency for Fundamental Rights to opine on whether the law contravenes European anti-discrimination standards. Any such opinion would be non-binding, though activists would likely use it to press for greater recognition of rights" such as abortion, he explained today.
"Some observers expect the Parliamentary action to have repercussions in Ireland, where the nation will vote in a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty next month," Toozzi continued.
"While the EU has ‘guaranteed’ that Ireland’s constitutional protection of unborn life would be unaffected by a ‘yes’ vote on Lisbon, the European Parliament’s action on Lithuania has fueled concerns among Irish euroskeptics that European institutions would seek to override the Republic’s domestic laws," he said.
"Among other changes, the Lisbon Treaty would make the Charter of Fundamental Rights binding upon members. While silent on abortion, critics fear an activist European Court of Justice reading such a right into the charter," he said.
"Forty-six parliamentarians abstained on the Lithuanian resolution, including three Irish EPP members. The four Irish ALDE members broke with their party and voted against the resolution, a move insiders see as tactical and intended to forestall criticism in advance of the Lisbon referendum," he added.
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