Hilary White

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EU set to suppress doctors’ conscience rights and proclaim abortion a ‘human right’

Hilary White
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BRUSSELS, October 10, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A coalition of socialists at the European Union have moved to suppress conscientious objection rights of doctors and healthcare workers throughout the EU.

The European Parliament is set to vote this month on the Draft Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, adopted by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality on September 18.

The report, promoted by the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, argues for legalizing abortion throughout all 27 EU member states, calling it a “human right.”

Citing the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1979 United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the EU report declares that “sexual and reproductive rights” and the “comprehensive sexual education” are “human rights,” and complains of a “disparity in the standard of sexual and reproductive health between and within Member States.”

“Member States should regulate and monitor the use of conscientious objection so as to ensure that reproductive health care is guaranteed as an individual’s right,” the report states.

It complains that, although“legal, abortion is often prevented or delayed by obstacles...such as the widespread use of conscientious objection.”

Section G of the report says, “Access to safe abortion...remains widely unavailable, though legal, through the abuse of conscientious objection or overly restrictive interpretations of existing limits.”

It adds, “These barriers clearly contradict human rights standards.”

This claim, however, was flatly denied by the pro-life group European Dignity Watch, that said that nowhere in international law is abortion named as a “human right.”

But the committee, the group said, “is ready to sacrifice internationally recognized rights, such as the right to conscientious objection.”

Indeed, the claim of abortion as a human right contradicts the findings in August this year by the Council of Europe that there is “no consensus” across Europe on legalizing abortion. Forty-seven European ministers were unable to answer two direct questions about abortion: Should the Council promote abortion? Is abortion a human right under the European Convention on Human Rights?

With a possible reference to the explosive growth of pro-life organizations and hugely popular Marches for Life across Europe in recent years, the document also noted the increase of “opposition to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) has increased in Europe and worldwide.”

Recently, a European-wide citizen’s initiative, the “One of us” petition project, gathered more than 1 million signatures asking the EU to end funding for the destruction of human embryos.

Zita Gurmai, an MEP for the Hungarian Socialist Party, praised the report’s “clear stance in favor of legalizing abortion in all member states” and called the demand for abortion to be made “legal, safe, and accessible to all” 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 said.

Patrick Buckley, the international affairs officer for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said that the European Union has no legal jurisdiction to instruct member states to legalize abortion.

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He said the draft report also “seeks to sexualize children through the introduction of so called comprehensive sexuality education.”

The report calls on member states “to ensure compulsory, age-appropriate, and gender-sensitive sexuality and relationship education for all children and adolescents (both in and out of school).” Such education “must include the fight against stereotypes and prejudices, shed light on gender and sexual orientation discrimination, and structural barriers to substantive equality.”

Sophia Kuby, spokesman for European Dignity Watch, commented, “One can only speculate on the exact method of implementation of these noble-sounding but eminently dangerous aims.”

Kuby added that this is not the first all-out attempt by a European international body to suppress conscience rights. She cited the case of the notorious 2010 “McCafferty Report” by the British politician and pro-abortion activist Christine McCafferty, “when a radical attempt to limit freedom of conscience” was introduced and later soundly defeated.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, (PACE), a body legally distinct from the European Union, instead 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”.

Italian government statistics recently showed that the number of doctors and other health care practitioners who refuse to participate in abortion is steadily increasing. This includes more than 80 percent of all gynecologists – up to 91 percent in some areas – as well as more than half of anesthesiologists and nurses.

In 2007, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists complained that “unprecedented numbers,” of doctors are opting out of abortion, 80 percent of which are paid for in Britain by the National Health Service.

The report itself repeats these statistics, noting also that doctors are increasingly refusing to participate in Hungary, Ireland, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia, “where nearly 70 per cent of all gynecologists and 40 per cent of all anesthesiologists conscientiously object to providing abortion services.”

To contact your Irish MEP with concerns, click here.

To contact your British MEP with concerns, click here.

To contact other MEPs, click here.

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