Council of Europe Won’t Vote on Pro-Abortion Resolution, Sponsor Lacks Votes
by Steven Ertelt
October 2, 2009
London, England (LifeNews.com) — The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will not vote on a pro-abortion resolution as it was scheduled to do today. It’s sponsor, MP Christine McCafferty, pulled the measure over the lack of vote after pro-life groups raised a strong opposition to it.
Peter Costea of the Alliance of Romania’s Families informed LifeNews.com of the decision early Friday.
"McCafferty has apparently learned that there are insufficient votes to ensure its passage," he said. "We have been additionally informed that the pressure applied on PACE by pro-life and pro-family values organizations has had a positive impact in this regard."
The proposed resolution "Fifteen Years Since the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action (Document 11992)," was designed to promote "sexual and reproductive rights and services," that includes abortion.
The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) and the British pro-life group SPUC helped lead the way in asking for calls and emails to members of PACE.
The group indicated the next step in the battle is the Parliamentary Committee (social affaires) in Paris in November where pro-life amendments to the document have been proposed.
Then, PACE may vote on the report in January 2010.
The ECLJ said the PACE report "promotes abortion as a means of family planning and population control in developing countries."
The report encourages the Committee of Ministers to start developing a European convention on sexual and reproductive health, and to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights by 2015. The convention will undoubtedly promote abortion, ECLJ says.
It points out how the report regards abortion as a matter of family planning and something to be encouraged and promoted.
"The ECLJ is extremely concerned about the underlying promotion of population control in general and abortion as a means of family planning and population control," the organization said.
It made clear in a written submission that the Council of Europe has no authority or competency to promote a so-called "right" to abortion and told members of PACE that the United Nations "never agreed to include abortion as a means of population control, as a ‘right,’ or as part of the definition of family planning."
This Resolution and its Explanatory Memorandum go much further than Resolution Access to Safe and Legal Abortion in Europe voted in 2008, which acknowledged "that abortion can in no circumstances be regarded as a family planning method" and must, as far as possible, be avoided," ECLJ explains.
With this new Resolution, ECLJ says abortion is regarded as a family planning method, and, according to the report,"must be accessible, affordable, appropriate and acceptable to all, irrespective of age, community or country."
Samantha Singson of the Catholic family and Human Rights Institute also weighed in on the proposal.
She said the report calls for promoting "a range of family planning, including emergency contraceptives [and] safe abortion."
"A major theme of the accompanying explanatory memorandum is the need to reduce maternal mortality as part of the development agenda, particularly by reducing unsafe abortion," she explained. ‘While the report pays lip-service to state sovereignty by mentioning that the legality of abortion remains in the hands of national governments, it also attempts to make the case that ‘restrictive abortion laws’ increase the incidence of unsafe abortion."
"The report fails to mention that the two countries in the EU with the most restrictive laws on abortion Ireland and Malta – are also two of the countries with the lowest maternal mortality in the world, not just in Europe," she continued.
"Conversely, the report cites Moldova as a country where maternal mortality due to unsafe abortion is high. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, Moldova is listed a country with one of the most liberalized laws in the world," she continued.
Singson says the Council meeting is of the preparation for the upcoming International Parliamentary Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Program of Action meeting.
The meeting is being organized by the United Nations Population Fund and will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the end of October.
ACTION: Go to this web site to contact members of PACE and urge a no vote on the report.
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