May 24, 2019 (C-Fam) — European nationalist parties have tended to sound pro-life and pro-family in order to gain power, but they have been unwilling to put an end to international European advocacy for abortion and LGBT rights.
European politics have been roiled in recent years by nationalist parties that assert sovereign prerogatives over and against the institutions of the European Union, particularly when it comes to border control. A lesser reported fact is that many of these parties — including in Hungary, Poland, and Italy — ran on a pro-life and pro-family platform.
Despite having captured the pro-life and pro-family vote in their respective countries, once elected, nationalists in Hungary, Poland, and Italy have only been willing to defy EU policy when it comes to border control and other internal issues. When it comes to EU abortion and LGBT advocacy on the international stage, they have mostly allowed the Germans and the French do as they please.
This is evident in the conclusions adopted by the EU Council each year to guide EU foreign policy. The conclusions have repeatedly emphasized “sexual and reproductive health and rights,” which are euphemisms known to direct political and financial support to abortion groups. They have also recently included “sexual orientation and gender identity” as categories of non-discrimination alongside sex, race, and religion.
The most Hungary and Poland have required in the EU Council is for “sexual and reproductive health” to be qualified by reference to past UN agreements that exclude an international right to abortion. But the overall terminology of the EU Council conclusions neutralizes any reference to past UN Conferences by endorsing subsequent reviews of the conferences that open the door to abortion rights.
The promotion of abortion by the EU goes against the common understanding that abortion is a subject beyond the competence of EU institutions and an exclusive national prerogative. Yet, European countries like France, Germany, and the United Kingdom openly advocate for abortion rights internationally without any pushback from other European countries. They have even spearheaded a campaign called “She Decides” to antagonize U.S. pro-life foreign policy and bail out the global abortion industry following the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy.
The passivity of EU nationalists on pro-life and pro-family issues is even more obvious in UN negotiations.
Nationalist parties in Hungary, Poland, and Italy especially — which have strong pro-life elements — have quietly hid behind the EU bureaucratic machinery, without trying to temper the positions of the EU delegation and other EU countries. And they have refused repeatedly to support U.S. efforts to advance the pro-life cause at the United Nations.
During recent negotiations in the Security Council, the United States was able to take out abortion-related language from a resolution on humanitarian assistance in war zones. Poland, a current member of the Security Council, did not support the U.S. pro-life position. This, even though the Germans initially proposed a resolution that explicitly characterized abortion as a basic humanitarian need.
Even after removing the abortion-related language, Germany boasted that international humanitarian efforts would continue to promote abortion in humanitarian programming. No European country governed by nationalists asked Germany to walk that back.
The debate about abortion in humanitarian settings has now shifted to the Economic and Social Council. The second largest UN normative body, composed of 54 members, is negotiating a resolution about UN humanitarian assistance in war and other emergencies. Negotiations will wrap up the first week of June.
Published with permission from C-Fam.