Despite escalating political opposition and the lack of legal jurisdiction, the full European Parliament is set to vote on a resolution declaring abortion and mandatory sexual education for children to be “human rights,” while launching an undisguised attack on the conscientious-objection rights of medical professionals.
The deeply controversial “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” measure, backed by powerful Socialist Party forces and Planned Parenthood, has already been approved in committee.
However, critics of the resolution are attacking it on multiple fronts – legal, ethical, human rights centered, pragmatic and more – and opposition is growing fast as pro-life and pro-family forces rally against it.
Among other points, opponents say the concept of human rights would be turned upside-down by defining the killing of another human being as a “right.”
Separately, legal experts and human rights attorneys say it represents an assault on national sovereignty – and especially on pro-life EU nations like Poland, Ireland and Malta that have stood firm against the legalization of abortion. All three of those countries are specifically singled out for criticism in the resolution.
The EU, however, as the text of the measure itself admits, does not have the lawful authority to formulate and implement policies on the issues involved. Those powers are reserved to national governments.
Experts agree. “The European Union has absolutely no legal competency to legislate on the issue of abortion,” senior European counsel Roger Kiska with the Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF, told WND.
“The European Parliament’s proposed resolution is an affront to national sovereignty, a breach of their duty to the citizens of the European Union and worst of all an unsolicited attack on innocent human life,” Kiska added.
Director Grégor Puppinck of the European Centre for Law and Justice, or ECLJ, also blasted the measure from numerous angles.
The notion that abortion on demand could be declared a human right, he told WND, flies in the face of the facts. In reality, it is a “clear” violation of real human rights.
Pro-life and pro-family organizations are on the rise, he said, but pro-abortion forces are still strong within government institutions and the European Parliament.
“This resolution is a ‘blitzkrieg’ – the pro-abortion and LBGT [Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Trasgender] lobbies united to pass all their claims in one text,” Puppinck explained, highlighting the broad scope of the measure in terms of abortion and more.
As WND reported earlier this year, the battle over the rights of unborn children is raging across Europe, and it is far from finished. This resolution represents only the latest front.
Abortion and sex ed as human rights: The text
If approved on October 22, the killing of unborn children on demand would be enshrined as a supposed fundamental “human right” purportedly guaranteed under international law.
The measure, among other schemes, “recommends that, as a human rights concern, abortion should be made legal, safe, and accessible to all.”
In addition, the proposed resolution condemns what it calls “medically unnecessary waiting periods” as well as “overly restrictive interpretations of existing limits” to abortion in pro-life countries.
While not binding, EU member states are also called upon to expand access to unrestricted abortion across the bloc.
Even adolescents supposedly have a “right to confidentiality” when it comes to sexual and reproductive “health” – in other words, abortion – which analysts said implies that parents would be deprived of their parental rights.
The resolution also represents a direct assault on the rights of pro-life doctors and other medical professionals to refuse participation in abortions, analysts told WND.
According to the measure, governments should “regulate and monitor” conscientious objection in the name of expanding the “human right” to take the lives of unborn children.
“There are cases reported from Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Ireland and Italy where nearly 70 percent of all gynecologists and 40 percent of all anesthesiologists conscientiously object to providing abortion services,” complains the proposed resolution, calling it “abuse of conscientious objection.”
“These barriers clearly contradict human rights standards,” the measure claims without elaborating.
Separately, the proposal seeks to make sexual education for all children and adolescents mandatory – no matter what their parents might think.
If approved, the resolution would call on national governments to “to ensure compulsory, age-appropriate and gender-sensitive sexuality and relationship education for all children and adolescents (both in and out of school).” (Emphasis added)
The mandatory sexual education, according to the measure, “must include the fight against stereotypes and prejudices, shed light on gender and sexual orientation discrimination, and structural barriers to substantive equality.”
While the text does not elaborate, critics said the measure would lead to “radical ideas” being forced on students. Among other concerns, analysts said it could include the potential promotion of homosexuality, extreme feminism, transgenderism, and more.
Finally, European taxpayers should step up funding for abortion and other controversial “family planning” schemes around the world via foreign aid, according to the resolution.
The measure calls for EU and national government financing of abortion and other schemes abroad through the European Development Fund because “investments in reproductive health and family planning are among the most cost-effective, in terms of development, and the most effective ways to promote the sustainable development of a country.”
The so-called “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” measure, or SRHR, was already adopted by the “Women’s Rights and Gender Equality” committee of the quasi-legislative EU body on September 18. The full parliament is scheduled to debate and vote on it on October 22.
Introduced by Portuguese Socialist Party Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Edite Estrela, who serves as the vice-chair of the “Women’s Rights” committee that blessed the measure last month, it has strong backing from powerful socialist forces across the bloc.
Hungarian Socialist Party MEP Zita Gurmai, for example, celebrated the resolution’s “clear stance in favor of legalizing abortion in all member states.”
The measure’s demand that abortion be legal and accessible to all, the MEP added, represents an “encouraging position.”
“We Socialists have always believed that women, everywhere in Europe, should have the same opportunity and access to fully carry out their choice – a choice, which should not be determined by geographical location or by social status,” Gurmai noted.
Indeed, much of the key backing for the resolution comes from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, the second largest group in the European Parliament – formerly the largest.
Planned Parenthood involvement
While pushed by socialists, the controversial measure was reportedly authored by International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network boss Vicky Claeys, whose global abortion organization receives taxpayer funds from the EU despite legal restrictions on funding abortion.
If approved, ever-greater sums of taxpayer wealth for abortion organizations would almost certainly be forthcoming.
Planned Parenthood and its global affiliates, of course, have attracted widespread criticism around the world – especially in the United States, where the tax-funded abortion giant was accused in congressional hearings last year of collaborating with the United Nations and the Communist Chinese regime to perpetrate “population control” atrocities.
“For decades, the UNFPA [United Nations Population Fund] and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) have worked hand in hand with the Chinese population control machine, which is coercive,” explained Women’s Rights Without Frontiers President Reggie Littlejohn in remarks for the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Some members of the European Parliament have spoken out about the issue, too.
“Certain international organizations, such as International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International, provide family planning services in China,” noted center-right MEP Alojz Peterle, former prime minister of Slovenia.
“At the same time, the European Commission and other international bodies provide both structural and project funds for these organizations,” he added. “Both have entered into public partnerships with the commission in the implementation of projects in China, which raises concern as to whether European funds are being used to fund coercive practices.”
Despite the increasingly serious controversies swirling around Planned Parenthood, however, the organization’s European chief publicly claimed to have written the SRHR resolution during a presentation on contraception to the European Parliament this summer.
Killing unborn children not a ‘human right’
There has been strong support from secular, humanist, socialist, homosexual, and pro-abortion forces for the controversial resolution.
However, it is facing increasingly strong resistance from a broad coalition of Europeans – even some in the regional parliament.
In her minority opinion, Women’s Rights committee member MEP Anna Zaborska, who is pro-life, slammed the reasoning behind the resolution approved by her committee.
“No international legally binding treaty nor the ECHR [European Convention on Human Rights] nor customary international law can accurately be cited as establishing or recognizing such right,” she pointed out. “All EU institutions, bodies and agencies must remain neutral on the issue of abortion.”
Other legal experts also said that was abundantly clear.
The use of human rights language to describe abortion in the proposed resolution is not only inappropriate and at odds with international law, it is a “grave insult to those suffering real human rights abuses around the world,” said ADF senior counsel for Europe Roger Kiska.
“It also does violence to existing human rights language which seeks to protect life – and not to end it,” he told WND, adding that the resolution runs contrary to international law as well as recent rulings by the EU “Court of Justice” defining life as beginning at conception.
“All human life is worthy of protection: from that of the unborn all the way until natural death,” Kiska noted.
The measure also goes beyond the EU’s legitimate authorities, he said.
“It is a tragedy that the European Parliament, in breach of its own legislative competency and against the heavy weight of international law, has sought to steal the right to life from countless unborn European children,” Kiska concluded. “During the time of a catastrophic economic crisis and an approaching demographic winter, it really is telling about the poor state of affairs of European Union politics that this resolution was ever put forward.”
The Brussels-based pro-life organization European Dignity Watch also lambasted the effort to create a purported “right” to abortion as entirely illegitimate.
“The majority who voted in favor of the report in committee bluntly ignores that such a right exists nowhere in international law and is ready to sacrifice internationally recognized rights, such as the right to conscientious objection,” the group said in a statement.
“Their ideological zeal to trample on other rights and impose the ‘right to abortion’ on the rest of Europe,” the organization concluded, “embodies precisely the arrogant and patronizing attitude that threatens the freedom of conscience – and that we should all vociferously reject.”
European Centre for Law and Justice Director Grégor Puppinck, meanwhile, told WND it is “clear” that abortion is not a human right.
In fact, “abortion on demand” is actually a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter, he said, citing a recent study in the Irish Journal of Legal Studies.
“Affirming abortion as a human right is the only way to ‘secure’ a right to abortion and it helps to spread it all over the world,” added Puppinck, whose organization is working hard to oppose the measure and similar efforts throughout the region.
While pro-abortion and LGBT forces launch what the ECLJ’s Puppinck called their “blitzkrieg” in the form of the SRHR resolution, opposition to abortion and the broader agenda is growing across the continent.
According to Puppinck and other analysts, the looming debate and vote on the Estrela Resolution on October 22 will have an impact on upcoming elections for the European Parliament next summer among “ethical voters.”
“In Europe, it is true that the pro-life and pro-family movements are becoming stronger, more vocal, creative and organized,” he said. “They are becoming strong in the street, not yet enough in parliament; but it has to come.”
In fact, Puppinck noted, the “pro-abortion lobby” is loudly complaining about the rise of the pro-life in and pro-family movement in Europe – and they may soon be on the defensive if pressure keeps growing.
“Clearly, abortion is losing support at the grassroots level, where it is not seen as an ideological feminist matter anymore, but as a problem,” he said. “The pro-abortion lobby is strong within the public institutions, not in the street.”
Indeed, across the bloc, numerous analysts have pointed to what they say is increasing consensus among Europeans that unborn children deserve to have their right to life protected.
As one example, activists and analysts point to the hugely successful European Citizens’ Initiative known as “One of Us.” It has gathered over a million signatories so far in a bid to stop EU financing for the killing of human embryos.
Other evidence illustrating the rising tide of pro-life sentiment was the stunning defeat of the original so-called “McCafferty resolution” in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
First introduced as a scheme to trample on the rights of doctors who refuse participation in abortion, the final measure ended up doing the exact opposite following a series of pro-life amendments and overwhelming public pressure.
“No person, hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable or discriminated against in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist or submit to an abortion, the performance of a human miscarriage, or euthanasia or any act which could cause the death of a human fetus or embryo, for any reason,” stated the final resolution, adopted almost exactly three years ago.
While it is impossible to know at this point how the October 22 vote in the European Parliament will go, opponents told WND that hope remains.
“Let’s see what happens on Tuesday,” said the ECLJ’s Puppinck, calling on citizens to get involved. “Maybe a good surprise.”