‘Ban sex-selective abortion’ says Council of Europe to member states
ROME, November 9, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Europe’s ‘other’ parliament has passed a resolution that calls on member states to introduce legislation and clinical guidelines that prohibit sex-selective abortion and embryo destruction.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, (PACE), Europe’s oldest pan-national body, passed Resolution 1829 (2011) last month.
In the resolution, which was put forward by Swiss socialist Doris Stump, PACE denounces “social and family pressure” that encourages women to abort female children as “a form of psychological violence.”
The resolution also points out that sex-selective abortion can lead to population imbalances “which are likely to create difficulties for men to find spouses, lead to serious human rights violations such as forced prostitution, trafficking for the purposes of marriage or sexual exploitation, and contribute to a rise in criminality and social unrest.”
A pro-life British delegate who attended the PACE meetings, Daniel Blackman of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), said there is “much for pro-life NGOs to welcome” in the resolution, but also warned also that it contains “strongly eugenic” passages that are openly discriminatory against the disabled.
A communiqué from SPUC in September warned that there were at least three specific places where the resolution denied the right to life of children with disabilities. SPUC recommended at that time that if it could not be amended, the resolution should be opposed.
Section 7 of the resolution states: “sex selection should be resorted to only to avoid serious hereditary diseases linked to one sex,” while section 8.5 says that sex-selection should be avoided “unless justified for the prevention of serious sex-linked genetic diseases.”
Blackman wrote that such clauses further “a eugenic culture in the medical professions and public opinion.”
He pointed out that if the resolution is adopted by member states, female embryos who have conditions such as Turner syndrome, a non-fatal genetic abnormality that only presents in girls, could be destroyed.
An unsuccessful attempt to amend the resolution by Luca Volonte, leader of the Group of the European People’s Party (EPP), would have removed one of the offending eugenic exemption clauses. The fact that the amendment was rejected, said Blackman, shows “that the support for abortion was greater than the support for human rights.”
Gregor Puppinck, head of the European Centre for Law and Justice, wrote in early October that, despite its significant flaws, the resolution did at least start with the notion that not all was totally acceptable about abortion.
For the first time in the history of the PACE, Puppinck said, “the promoters of an alleged right to abortion have, on their own initiative, admitted that abortion has negative repercussions on society, therefore it cannot be allowed unrestrictedly but, when legal, has to be regulated.”
The resolution’s originator, Doris Stump admitted that at the heart of the issue is the conflict between unlimited “abortion rights” and the desire to protect unborn girls targeted by that “right.”
“It is difficult because it touches on an area that we do not want to question: the right to have an abortion in countries where they have that. At the same time, everyone accepts that there is a problem in our societies with sex selection, or we could have a problem if we go on like this,” Stump said.
François Rochebloine, a French delegate with the EPP criticized the resolution for failing to address the root problem, calling it “absurd.”
“Men and women should be respected for their individual qualities. Prenatal selection should be opposed, whether to select the sex of a baby or to avoid giving birth to a handicapped child,” she said.
“Condemnation of the practice should be based on an absolute conviction of children’s right to be born. Respect for that principle was the source of social cohesion and moral force.”
PACE is an entirely separate body from the European Union (EU), founded in 1949, that, unlike the EU, does not have the power to establish international law. Resolutions passed by it are not binding on member states, but are highly influential in the crafting of binding international law.
The resolution will now be forwarded to ministers representing the 47 member states for ratification.