The European Parliament is set to debate and vote on a motion by Croatian MEP Pedrag Matic, which presents some serious concerns for the pro-life movement in Europe.
The most worrying aspect of the report is that it calls for abortion to be declared a “human right” and urges member states to “decriminalise abortion”. Originally set for 7th June 2021, the vote got pushed back till later in the month after strong opposition giving pro-lifers time to raise awareness and to take action.
Officially titled "The situation of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU from the perspective of women's health,” the Matic report, which can be read here, refers to a ban or denial of abortion services as “a form of gender-based violence”, and urges member states to “decriminalise abortion” and to remove any obstacles that may prohibit it's legalisation.
This is a call for abortion-on-demand services, with no restrictions, across EU states. It is seen by many commentators as an attack on strong pro-life countries like Malta and Poland.
Additionally, the report claims that abortion restrictions harm women and do not reduce abortion numbers, and thus calls to remove any “barriers” that prohibit a woman's access to abortion. This includes “waiting periods” and even calls for easier access to abortion during crisis', including access to DIY abortions that were made available during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, in Ireland, almost 1,000 women who originally sought abortion changed their mind as a result of the three day waiting period. Furthermore, whilst we have limited information about the impact of the DIY abortion pill in Ireland, incidents in the UK have given cause for concern over the availability of DIY abortions, and its risks to women's health. You can read about it here.
The report also claims that a doctor who refuses to provide abortion services on conscientious objection puts women at risk, and therefore, has called for the removal of a doctors right to conscientious objection and for it to instead be “addressed as denial of medical care”. Should EU states adopt these measures, then this could pose a threat to a doctors career should he be strongly opposed to providing abortion services to women.
Although not legally binding, should this report be accepted by the European Parliament, it would put EU states under pressure to adopt the measures presented in the report, particularly countries that currently have very restrictive abortion laws, such as Malta who have a total ban on abortion, and Poland who have recently banned abortion on disability grounds.
According to CitizensGo, whilst some groups are strongly against the report, there are others who are strongly in favour of it, with the European Parliament coming under pressure to approve of this new report, by powerful international groups. In light of this, we urge you to take urgent action against this new report, and show the European Parliament the strong pro-life position across Europe.
We urge you to SIGN and SHARE this petition, devised by CitizensGo, which can be accessed here, urging MEPs to vote NO to the Matic report and NO to the pressure to making abortion-on-demand in EU states. This petition is aimed at the undecided members of the European People's Party, the largest party in the European Parliament, who could have the most influence on the outcome of the vote.
The pro-life movement are already making a difference. CitizensGo updated their petition page on 4th June informing viewers that after their petition reached 120,000 signatures within the first day, the European Parliament pushed the debate and vote on the report from the original date of the 7th June, to later in the month.
If you are able to, please take the time to contact your MEP, either by phone or by email, urging them to reject this proposed Matic report. Contact details can be found here and a sample email can be found below:
Some time this month, you will be asked to vote on the Matic report, that looks at the sexual and reproductive health and rights from the perspective of women's health. However, having read the text from the report, I have some very serious and worrying concerns.
The most major cause for concern is the call to define abortion as a “human right” and to “decriminalise abortion”, ultimately calling for abortion-on-demand services without restrictions across EU states. It calls for the removal of “barriers” to abortion, such as waiting periods, which have been known to reduce abortion numbers in Ireland, and even making abortion easier to access during crisis' such as DIY abortion pill during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the risks it has posed to women's health.
It also calls to remove a doctor's right to conscientious objection and instead calls for it to be “addressed as denial of medical care”. This poses a serious threat to a doctors right to refuse providing a service on religious or moral grounds.
Although, I am aware this is not legally binding, I am also very concerned over the level of pressure this report, should it be accepted, would put on countries to implement it's measures, regardless of whether they approve of them or not.
For these reasons, I urge you to reject the Matic report and vote NO to these extreme abortion measures. We can do so much better for women.