European Parliament: Women Must Have Access to Abortion and Contraception

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 18, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

European Parliament: Women Must Have Access to Abortion and Contraception

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 18
, 2010

Strasbourg, France ( — The European Parliament last week adopted a new report on the equality of men and women that says women must have access to abortion and contraception. Leading pro-life international campaigners say the EP has overstepped its bounds because it has no purview on abortion.

In the report, the European Parliament says "women must have control over their sexual and reproductive rights, notably through easy access to contraception and abortion."

But attorney J.C. von Krempach, writing on the blog of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, condemned the adoption of the document.

"Once more, a thin minority of the EP has adopted a text that glorifies abortion as a ‘right’ and that, in doing so, reaches far outside the European Union’s competences. The European Union has no competence on abortion. This was clarified at countless occasions in the past," he said.

He pointed to a quote from Paula Lehtomäki, President-in-Office of the Council, in December 2006, who said, "The European Union treaties have not bestowed on the Community or the Union the competence whereby the Union could regulate on abortions."

Also, Emilio Menéndez del Valle, MEP, said in November 2006 that "The issue of abortion from a legal point of view falls under the competence of the individual Member States."

Furthermore, the Council clarified in December 2003 that the term "Reproductive Health" does not include any reference to a "right to abortion" and that the Council does "not accept that abortion should form part of policies on reproductive and birth control education."

Von Krempach responds: "With all these clarifications on the legal situation, it should be clear that the European Parliament’s statements on a pretended ‘right to abortion’ are, legally speaking, a non-entity."

"Politically speaking, one may suppose that one reason for the left-liberal majority in the EP to make such bold statements on abortion or similarly divisive issues is that such statements are unlikely to lead to any legal consequences," he continues.

The pro-life attorney concludes: "But certainly, it would be good if the European Parliament, in times of economic crisis, could dedicate its time and energy on matters falling inside its competence, rather than on pretentious waffle about a ‘right to abortion.’"

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