Updated: European Parliament rejects abortion as a `human right` – Sinn Fein & Labour support motion

The European Parliament has today voted by 351 MEPs  in favour of referring the resolution by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality back to committee, with 319 voted against.

The Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Union (which includes Irish Labour, UK Labour and the SDLP) passed a draft report last month declaring that abortion is a “human right”.  And it seems Sinn Fein also voted for the motion whilst the DUP & UUP opposed it.

The motion stressed that:

it was essential for individual, social and economic development that women have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, timing and spacing of their children, as established by international human rights law….on member states to refrain from preventing pregnant women seeking abortion to travel to other states or jurisdictions where the procedure was legal and urged them, to promote scientific research on male- and female-controlled methods of contraception, so as to facilitate the burden-sharing of contraceptive responsibility.

And it underlined that `in no case must abortion be promoted as a family planning method and said that member states should implement policies and measures aimed at preventing people from having abortions for social or economic reasons and providing support to mothers and couples in difficulties.`

The motion also seems to put the right to conscientious objection into debate where it states “regulate and monitor the use of conscientious objection so as to ensure that reproductive health care is guaranteed as an individual’s right, while access to lawful services is ensured and appropriate and affordable referrals systems are in place”.  This runs contrary to The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which adopted Resolution 1763, which asked member states to ‘guarantee the right to conscientious objection in relation to participation in the medical procedure in question.’ The Assembly also stated that ‘in the vast majority of Council of Europe member states, the practice of conscientious objection is adequately regulated”.

A report by European Dignity Watch found in a study that Marie Stopes and Planned Parenthood are both recipients of funding from the European Union already.

Ireland is one of a number of countries singled out in the motion with regards to its `restrictive` abortion laws.

The Nolan Show has covered the Northern Irish abortion debate recently with contributions from Dawn Purvis and NI21`s Basil McCrea.

Saturday 19th Oct saw hundreds protest at Witness for Life, organised by Precious Life outside Dawn Purvis`s Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast.

All the main churches and political parties remain opposed to abortion on demand as do the Orange Order and Independent Orange Order.  The Independent Orange Order released statement last October opposing the Marie Stopes clinic stating

We, the members of the Independent Loyal Orange Institution, wish to express our opposition to the opening of the Marie Stopes abortion clinic in Belfast. Marie Stopes International is notorious for its evil and repugnant practice of murdering millions of unborn children.

As a Bible-based Christian Institution we believe that only God has the right to affirm when a human life begins; Psalm 51:5 & 139:13-16, Luke chapter 1 leaves us in no doubt that human life begins at conception.

This was re-enforced at the Independent Orange Order Twelfth demonstration in Portgelnone this year where the Grand Master stated `Another area of great concern is that of abortion. We believe in the sanctity of life and the protection of the unborn. I know this whole area is very sensitive and complex, but we must resist all efforts to introduce the 1967 Abortion Act into Northern Ireland or to change the existing law. Again, I urge our MLAs to stand firm.`


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