EP calls for making abortion a fundamental right


European Union


Photo AFP, Patrick Hertzog

The European Parliament wants the right to abortion enshrined in the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. The call is prompted by developments in the United States, where women can no longer terminate a pregnancy everywhere following a Supreme Court ruling.

According to MEPs, something similar is threatening to happen in some EU countries. They point to Poland, for example, where the conservative government has recently restricted abortion. In Malta, for instance, all terminations of pregnancy are prohibited.

In the vote, there was a clear majority in favour of the call. Of the parliamentarians present, 324 voted in favour and 155 against.

At the beginning of this year, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, also called for a right to abortion to be included in the Charter, which more or less has the legal force of a treaty.

However, it does not seem to be happening any time soon because all Member States would have to agree. The EU now has no say over the abortion policies of national governments.

MEPs further urged member states to decriminalise abortion and remove and combat obstacles to safe and legal abortion and access to SRHR services, which should be guaranteed without discrimination. Medical practitioners should not deny women access to abortion care on the grounds of religion or conscience, as this can endanger the patient’s life, the website of the European Parliament reads.

MEPs also call on the European Commission to help aid organisations that have seen funding from the US dry up because they facilitate abortion elsewhere in the world.



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