The European Parliament on Thursday (24) approved a resolution declaring that safe access to abortion is a human right and urging European Union countries to ensure that sex education is comprehensive for children from the start. elementary School.
The text has no binding power – each country is sovereign to make its own laws on this matter – but the vote puts pressure on countries like Poland, which has limited the possibilities of legal abortion to almost zero, and the Hungary, which has limited teaching about sexuality in public schools.
“This vote marks the first real resistance to a regressive program that has trampled on women’s rights in Europe for years. The majority of MEPs have clearly expressed their position, ”said the author of the text, Croatian MEP Predrag Fred Matic of the Socialist Party.
The resolution, approved by 378 votes in favor and 255 against, declares that any interference with access to contraception, abortion, infertility treatment or maternity care “is a form of violence against women and girls and hinders progress towards gender equality ”.
He also criticizes the adoption of “conscience clauses”, which allow doctors to refuse to perform a procedure because they do not agree with it. Not seeing the patients “for reasons of religion or conscience endangers the life and the rights of women”, specifies the text.
Supported by the Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, the resolution was attacked by anti-abortion movements and by the liberal European Conservatives and Reformists group and by the center-right People’s Party group. European Union, who overwhelmingly voted against the text.
For MEPs who supported the resolution, very restrictive laws force women to have clandestine abortions or carry a pregnancy to term against their will, “which is a violation of their human rights.”
The approved text calls for universal access to a safe and legal abortion, the guarantee of a legal abortion in early pregnancy and a legal termination of pregnancy if the woman is in danger.
It also claims that sex education in schools helps prevent and combat sexual violence and harassment and urges EU countries to apply tax exemptions to sanitary napkins and tackle menstrual poverty by providing commodities. free to anyone in need.
This Thursday, the number of signatories of a joint letter which promises to “fight against discrimination against the LGBTI community” reached 17. The document, addressed to the presidents of the European Commission, the Council of the EU and the Council of Europe, does not mention Hungary, but was drafted amid a strong backlash against a new Hungarian law deemed anti-LGBT.
The letter was signed by Germany, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy , Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta and Sweden.
The subject also gave rise to exchanges of spades between leaders during the meeting of the European Council in Brussels. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Hungary should repeal the anti-LGBT law or leave the European Union.
The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, considered that a “frank and firm” discussion was needed on the values of Europe, “based on the dignity of each person and on the fight against discrimination”. He said he respected the sovereignty of Hungary, but that “the proposed law is not in line with our values and what Europe is”.
The president said he hoped the debate among the leaders would prompt Orbán to change the text himself.
On Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called the legislation “shameful” and pledged to use all possible resources to fight it. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán responded by saying that Von der Leyen’s statement was shameful and that the bill “does not contain any discriminatory element” and “does not apply to the sexual orientation rights of people over 18 years “.