The European Union approved a radical pro-abortion document Thursday that puts increased pressure on countries to legalize the killing of unborn babies in abortions without limits and force medical workers to participate.
The Catholic News Agency reports members of the European Parliament voted 378-255 in favor of the Matić Report after an intense debate that included two attempts to block the report and several alternative proposals. An additional 42 members abstained from voting.
The report describes abortion as “essential healthcare” and advocates for its expansion. It also advocates against the conscience rights of medical workers, portraying their refusal to help abort unborn babies as a “denial of medical care,” according to CNA.
Opposition to the radical pro-abortion resolution came from all across the continent. Pro-life advocates in Poland, Spain, Slovakia, France, Malta and other countries warned that the report threatens basic human rights and the sovereignty of individual countries.
Prior to the vote, Polish MEP Jadwiga Wiśniewska and Spanish MEP Margarita de la Pisa Carrión blasted the report as pro-abortion, anti-woman and anti-child, Politico reports. In a written opinion, they said the report urges women “to turn their backs on fertility and motherhood.”
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“It treats abortion as a purported human right that does not exist in international law,” they continued. “This is a breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the main binding treaties, as well as of the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union.”
The European Centre for Law and Justice, one of the leading groups that advocated against the report, warned people not to underestimate its impact.
“… although the resolutions of the European Parliament have no binding legal value, they are the expression of an opinion that the Parliament wishes to make known,” the organization said in a statement. “A resolution may subsequently serve to politically legitimize action by the member states or the institutions; it is intended to produce practical effects.”
The organization said the report will put pressure on countries to legalize abortion on demand and end their conscience protection laws.
Most European countries have stronger limits on abortion than the U.S., though most allow abortions without limits through the first trimester and sometimes into the second. Most countries also force taxpayers to pay for the killing of unborn babies in abortions and some have very limited protections for doctors and nurses who object to participating in these killings.
Malta and Poland protect unborn babies by banning abortions, but they are facing intense pressure to legalize abortion on demand. Gibraltar is voting on a referendum to legalize abortions Thursday.
Ahead of the vote, Catholic leaders criticized the report for calling for the destruction of innocent children’s lives.
“Abortion is always a violation of the fundamental human right to life, a violation even more abhorrent because it concerns the life of the weakest and completely defenseless human being. It is, therefore, a manifestation of the most unjust discrimination,” said Catholic Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, who leads the Polish bishops’ conference.
In a position paper, the Secretariat of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) also outlined numerous problems with the report. While the bishops welcomed the “fundamental concern” to “protect the health and rights of women,” they said abortion is not “ordinary health care” or “a means of family planning.”
However, pro-abortion MEPs and abortion activists claimed that the report will encourage “progress” for women.
“Tomorrow is a great day for Europe and the entire progressive world,” Matić said Wednesday, CNA reports. “Tomorrow we decide on positioning Europe as a community that chooses to live in the 21st or the 17th century. Don’t let history remember us as the latter ones.”
A document published on the European Centre for Law and Justice website notes that “no treaty in international law recognizes a right to abortion nor includes it in the field of sexual and reproductive health.”
Now that the report is approved, however, that could change.
Grégor Puppinck, general director of the European Centre for Law and Justice, said he believes the billion-dollar abortion chain Planned Parenthood is behind the report.
“No member of the Parliament would have been able to write this resolution, it is clear that it was written by abortion professionals,” he told the National Catholic Register earlier this month. “Abortion is an industry that generates a lot of money worldwide, and this business now presents itself as a promoter of human and women rights while doing its own promotion, asking for European subsidies and spreading their practice.”