By Hilary White

BRUSSELS, June 23, 2008 ( – The UK’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has warned that an initiative of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will bring the EU closer to mandating unrestricted legal abortion for its member states.

PACE has proposed a draft resolution on the problem of the abandonment of children, particularly newborns, in Europe. But as with most discussions of the problems facing mothers, the resolution quickly reveals the strong pro-abortion mindset of its drafters, who call on member states to push for greater liberalisation of abortion restrictions.

The resolution reads, “To fight against abandonment, the Assembly invites member states inter alia to ensure the right of women to freely choose maternity,” language that is acknowledged in international politics to mean the “right” to have access to abortion. The vote for the resolution is set for Friday 27 June.

The draft resolution notes the reintroduction in some countries of the idea of the “foundling wheel” system, first pioneered in Catholic countries in the middle ages, that allows mothers to leave their children in the care of modern medical facilities with subsequent access to social services and adoption without identifying themselves. Modern “baby hatches” in hospitals or social centres are safe for the child and include sensors that alert workers when a baby has been put in it. In Germany, babies are first cared for eight weeks, during which time the mother can return and claim her child without any legal repercussions. If this does not happen, after eight weeks the child is put up for adoption.

But the authors of the draft resolution have downplayed this pro-life solution, hinting that it encourages criminal activity and human trafficking and calling it “controversial”. The real solution, the resolution implies, is abortion.

“Even where voluntary termination of pregnancy is permitted, it is subject to countless administrative formalities all of which constitute obstacles too many women in distress.” The document goes on to say that “abandonment of newborn babies clearly raises the question of access for women – particularly migrant women – to sexual rights and reproductive health services” – in other words, abortion.

Ominously, the document also hints that abortion is morally superior to adoption, implying that solutions such as foundling wheels only encourage adoption, which, it says, “is closely tied up with abandonment, just as it is with child trafficking.”

“The Assembly notes that adoption has become a market and that the shortage of adoptable babies in the west makes matters worse,” the resolution says. The foundling wheel solution is downgraded in the resolution, which says, “In many cases, the abandonment of children is considered a crime, and this system is seen by some as inciting crime and taking responsibility away from mothers.”

In the document’s next paragraph, abortion is proposed as a solution superior to that of allowing the child to live and be adopted. “For the Assembly, the abandonment of newborn babies clearly raises the question of access for women – particularly migrant women – to sexual rights and reproductive health services.”

SPUC says that although the resolution contains some good aspects, such as a call for greater support for women in crisis pregnancies, the draft resolution and its accompanying report are seriously flawed in that they promote abortion as a solution.

The organization also notes that the “high-jacking” of the draft resolution by “pro-abortion extremism” is “shocking”, but not surprising given that it was drafted by the strongly pro-abortion British MP Mike Hancock, under the chairmanship of Christine McCafferty, a leader of the abortion lobby in the British parliament.

The Council of Europe is the oldest and largest of the pan-European bodies and is distinct from the European Union. It has a Parliamentary Assembly consisting of representatives of 47 member-states. Although the Parliamentary Assembly cannot pass laws, it does pass resolutions which may have significant influence on EU law.