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Defending life from the moment of conception

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European parliament votes to promote abortion

3 July 2002

European parliament votes to promote abortion London, 3 July 2002--The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has condemned the vote in the European parliament today to adopt the pro-abortion Van Lancker report on sexual and reproductive rights, which recommends the legalisation of abortion and the easy availability of the morning-after pill in all European member states and applicant countries. Meeting in Strasbourg, MEPs voted by 280 to 240, with 28 abstentions, in favour of adopting the report, which had been drawn up by the women's rights committee of the parliament, despite the fact that abortion and public health services are not within the competency of the European Union. MEPs voted in favour of an amendment tabled by Jonathan Evans (the pro-life Welsh MEP) for the European People's Party which slightly mitigated the call for abortion to be legalised in all EU member or candidate countries by insisting that "legal or regulatory policy concerning reproductive health falls within the Member States' sphere". However, the MEPs also adopted amendments which recommended the promotion of the abortifacient morning-after pill and criticised the Holy See and United States for blocking "positive reference to expanding the access to reproductive health services" (which include abortion) in the outcome document of the United Nations child summit in May. Dominic Baster, SPUC's international secretary, said: "This is a sad day for all those who seek a Europe based on respect for human rights, ethical principles and democracy. MEPs have adopted this report despite widespread concerns in those countries which are applying to join the EU that it rides roughshod over their cultural, legal and constitutional positions. The fanatical pro-abortion lobby is losing the battle to enshrine abortion as a human right at the United Nations, and so now it is redoubling its efforts within the EU." Dana Rosemary Scallon, the Irish pro-life MEP, commented: "This has highlighted the agenda of the women's rights committee, which is willing to trample all over the principle of subsidiarity, facilitated by the parliament's Council of Presidents which should never have allowed this report to be authorised in the first place."

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