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Extreme pro abortion resolution rushed through Council of Europe

16 April 2008

Extreme pro-abortion resolution rushed through Council of Europe Strasbourg, 16th April 2008 - A resolution calling for unlimited access to abortion throughout Europe was today rushed through the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The Assembly passed the report with 102 votes in favour, 69 votes against and 14 abstentions.

Amendments seeking to make the report less extreme in its promotion of abortion were rejected.

Assembly member Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, representing Malta, a country which upholds the right to life of all children, born and unborn, opposed the resolution, warning that "a society which destroys its young condemns itself to oblivion."

Pat Buckley of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), who was present at today's debate, commented: "Today is a tragic day for Europe, not least because this report in favour of even more killing of unborn children was rushed through the Assembly without proper scrutiny. Plenary session speeches were limited to three minutes, amendment speeches to 30 seconds and scrutiny by the Assembly's legal affairs committee denied. It was disappointing to see that only 185 members out of 318 thought the issue important enough to be present. The only consolation is that the resolution is not legally binding. "The resolution represents an attack on the sovereignty of member states, by attempting to impose a policy on abortion, something for which the Assembly has no legal or legitimate justification. The Assembly has no authority to call on member states to 'guarantee women's effective exercise of their right to abortion' as no such right is recognised in any international human rights agreement. Nothing in the European Convention on Human Rights recognises a right to abortion or confers on individuals a right to require a state to permit or facilitate abortion. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the issue of when the right to life begins is a question to be decided at national level. It follows that the legal protection afforded to early human life must also be decided at national level. "Evidence contradicts the claims made by this resolution. Permissive abortion regimes do not protect the health of women. Countries where abortion is not permitted actually show substantially better healthcare for mothers and children. Many women experience serious physical and emotional suffering following legal abortion. Nor does decriminalisation guarantee an end to clandestine abortions. The promotion of birth control and contraceptive-based sex education has proved to be incapable of reducing the level of abortions. "That a committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe even proposed this resolution damages the Council of Europe's credibility", concluded Mr Buckley.

Mr Nigel Dodds, MP and MLA for Belfast North, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and a minister in the Northern Ireland executive, said: "It's a sad day for the unborn child in Europe, but the fight goes on." Information on the resolution is here .


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