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European Parliament says women’s rights and SRHR are human rights and calls to decriminalise abortion in all member states!


25 Jun 2021


Health & Consumers

Today the European Parliament has finally stood on the side of women and showed governments that are undermining women's rights that we no longer accept this.

Despite enormous mobilisation from anti-choice and anti-gender movements, and last-minute manoeuvres by the EPP, the plenary has adopted the progressive resolution recognising sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) as fundamental human rights. Drafted by S&D MEP Fred Matić, the text calls for guaranteed access to SRHRs in the EU without discrimination, including to reliable sex education, fertility treatment, modern contraceptives and safe and legal abortion. It also urges the European Commission to appoint an EU special envoy for SRHRs, to protect them at the EU level.

Fred Matić, S&D MEP and the European Parliament’s negotiator on the sexual and reproductive health and rights, said:

“A historic day! I am proud that the majority of our house recognises that in the 21st century we must no longer treat women as second-class citizens, but respect their feelings and freedoms, and make sure all women across Europe get the access to healthcare they deserve.

“Contrary to what the far right has said, I am not advocating abortion. What my report is saying is that every woman has the right to choose. The number of abortions performed is similar in countries where abortion is legal and in countries where it is not. But abortions performed clandestinely are dangerous for women’s health, often leading to fatal consequences. That is why we are calling for abortion to be decriminalised in all member states.

“But there is much more than abortion. We call for appropriate sex education for all children in primary and secondary schools, and for access to fertility treatment without discrimination, especially for single women and female same-sex couples.

 “Anti-choice and anti-gender movements have spared no effort to prevent the adoption of my report. They spread disinformation about it, launched a petition against it and even went so far as to send little plastic foetuses to many MEPs. But they did not intimidate us! I hope that one day they also will walk off the edge of their flat earth.”

S&D spokesperson on women’s rights and gender equality Maria Noichl MEP added:

"I am glad that despite numerous attempts to block this report in the last minute, not only by the far right but also the EPP, it was adopted. We have been waiting for almost a decade to send this clear message from the European Parliament that we are putting women and their rights centre stage.

“We are making it clear: sexual and reproductive rights, meaning access to abortion, but also sexual education, contraception, fertility treatment, health services during pregnancy and birth, and the treatment of related diseases, must remain rights in the entire EU. They cannot be withdrawn by member states. We trust women themselves to make the right decisions and we want to facilitate this through information, education and support.

"During the negotiations and shortly before the vote, it became obvious why this report is so urgently needed. The opposition against women has increased. Fake news and flimsy excuses are used to try to undo years of progress and to send women back to the home. To all governments and organisations in the EU that are trying to undermine women's rights, we are saying today: we will not allow this.”