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S&Ds: We will not rest until SRHR and women’s rights are totally guaranteed

Date

20 Jan 2022

Sections

Justice & Home Affairs

On the initiative of the Socialists and Democrats’ leader Iratxe García, the European Parliament held today a debate on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the EU (SRHR). The S&Ds are using this opportunity to remind MEPs that SRHRs are fundamental rights and must be guaranteed for everyone, without discrimination. They called on the new EP president Roberta Metsola to strongly defend and promote the position of the Parliament in this area.

In June last year the European Parliament adopted the historic report, drafted by S&D MEP Fred Matic, calling for guaranteed access to SRHRs in the EU, including reliable sex education, fertility treatment, modern contraceptives and safe and legal abortion. The report also urged the European Commission to appoint an EU special envoy for SRHRs to protect these rights at an EU level. The S&Ds want to see this report implemented.

The leader of the S&D Group, Iratxe García, said in the plenary:

“Sexual and reproductive health goes much further than abortion, as some would have us believe. It encompasses regular health checks, health care for pregnant women and mothers, treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, fertility treatments, contraceptives and sex education.

 “SRHR does include the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, because no woman should be forced to become a mother if she does not want to. Banning abortion does not mean that more children will be born - it means that more women will die because there will be more clandestine abortions in unsafe sanitary conditions. Only women with the economic means will be able to travel abroad to undergo legal and safe abortions and it is unacceptable that in the XXI century, women die in Europe because of this.

“As an important Argentine campaign claimed: we need sexual education to decide, contraceptives not to abort, and legal abortion not to die.

“I reiterate the S&D’s call, endorsed yesterday also by president Macron, to include Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in the European strategy for Public Health. We also call on governments to apply reduced VAT on women’s hygiene products, which are not luxury items, but essential products to preserve women’s sexual and reproductive health.”

“To my MEPs colleagues: remember that whenever you vote against SRHR, you are denying health care to pregnant women, to mothers, and to people with cancer or with sexually transmitted diseases who are trying to have a child. If you vote “no”, you are depriving men and women of their right of choice.”

Fred Matić, S&D MEP and the European Parliament’s negotiator on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, said:

“Since my report was voted, we have seen new attacks on women’s rights, particularly in Poland, where ultraconservatives are pushing to restrict abortion even further. There are other problematic counties like Slovakia and Hungary, and Malta still prohibits abortion in all circumstances.

“The S&Ds will continue to put a spotlight on the issue of sexual and reproductive health and rights as we are still faced with an immense retrogressive agenda across Europe. This is even more important now that we have elected a new leadership of the European Parliament and I want to remind our new president Metsola that she and her Bureau have an obligation to strongly defend and promote the position of our House in this area. Sexual and reproductive rights are fundamental human rights and we will do everything we can to ensure that this is reflected in the Parliament's future work. We expect a strong push forward and that no woman is left behind in her right to health.“

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