The European Parliament (EP) approved last Thursday, June 25, with 378 votes in favor, 255 against and with 42 abstentions the Matić Report that considers abortion as a “fundamental right”, ignores the sovereignty of the Member States, and demands, among other things, to repeal conscientious objection for doctors and health institutions.
The report is now a resolution. It is not binding, but offers the political and narrative background to promote free abortion in the laws of the EU countries under the argument that it was “recognized as a right” by the majority of Parliament.
It is a kind of “soft law” that will be used to pressure countries like Poland, which has managed to progressively restrict legal abortion. Or Malta, where abortion is not allowed under any circumstances.
The report was approved with the block votes of the political groups Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), The Greens (Greens-EFA), The Left (GUE-NGL) and Renew Europe (Renew), counting 329 votes, the first three are leftist groups and the last one is made up of liberals who present themselves as centrists. It also received 36 votes from the European People’s Party (EPP), including 2 from its vice-presidents, 1 from the Identity and Democracy (ID) group, both from the right, and 12 from independent deputies.
In addition, 34 right-wing or conservative MPs abstained from voting: 18 from the EPP, 11 from the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) political group, 1 from ID and 4 independents. See how each legislator voted here.
The VOX party from Spain, through their political group ECR, filed an inadmissibility appeal to prevent the report from being voted on in the plenary, but it was rejected by 391 votes, against 280. This first vote, held on June 24, already announced the result of the final vote. In addition, two alternative proposals for resolutions were presented to replace the report, one from the ECR and the other from the EPP. Both were rejected.
A radical report
The Report on the Situation of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the EU, in the frame of women’s health prepared by MEP Predrag Fred Matić, from the Social Democratic Party of Croatia, and finalized in the Commission on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) of Parliament, is a radical text. You can read it here.
The document ensures that women have a recognized right to access to health, which also includes “sexual and reproductive health”, in which abortion supposedly plays a fundamental role in guaranteeing the “bodily autonomy of women and girls.” Paragraph 33 calls on member states to “guarantee universal access to safe and legal abortion.”
Paragraph 34 requires them to decriminalize it, and eliminate and fight the obstacles that limit its practice. It also and urges the EU to integrate all “sexual and reproductive rights, including the right to abortion” into its next health strategy.
Paragraph 35 requests that the legislation of the member states be reviewed to ensure that any abortion requested by a woman can be performed “in early pregnancy and, when needed, beyond”, since its “total ban can be considered an act of gender violence.”
In addition, in three paragraphs (36-38), the text regrets that governments allow doctors, professionals and health institutions to refuse to perform abortions “on the basis of the so-called conscience clause”, which is based on “personal beliefs”, and demands that “effective regulatory and enforcement measures be implemented” to prevent it, since – it says – “its exercise violates the rights of women.”
“Pregnant men” and gender, a lot of gender
The approved report also embraces the ideological perspective of gender, uses this and other related concepts as if they were consolidated and accepted terms in the legal order of all member states, which is still far from reality.
In paragraph “N”, it states, for example, that “in certain circumstances transgender men and non-binary persons may also undergo pregnancy and should, in such cases, benefit from measures for pregnancy and birth-related care without discrimination on the basis of their gender identity. Confused? In reality, “transgender men” are women who claim to be men.
Paragraph 72 calls for “an intersectional approach to be used to ensure that women and girls (both transgender and cisgender) non-binary persons, lesbian, bisexual and intersex women have equal access to sexual and reproductive health services and rights.”
The report also says that it does not consider right the definition of infertility given by the World Health Organization (WHO), because “encompass the reality of lesbian and bisexual women, as well as transgender persons, in same-sex couples, or single women” who may not be able to demonstrate their ‘infertility’ and therefore, have their access to assisted reproductive techniques denied.
Furthermore, it urges Member States to guarantee “universal access” to comprehensive sexuality education “for all primary and secondary school pupils, as well as for out-of-school minors”, characterized by “a rights-based and gender-focused approach”(Paragraphs 26 and “Q”).
In the hands of barbarians
Spanish MEP Jorge Buxadé, head of the VOX delegation in the EP, stressed that the result of the vote takes the EU away from its founding values and the and gives it into the hands of barbarians who consider abortion a right.
Polish MEP Jadwiga Wiśniewska (PiS) declared that the approved resolution violates the fundamental right from which all other rights derive and infringes the competence of Member States, setting a very serious precedent that puts in danger the rule of law in the EU.
After the vote, Matić commented that the approval of the report “marks a new era in the European Union and the first real resistance to a regressive agenda that has trampled on women’s rights in Europe for years.”
The affirmation of the Croatian politician is significant, because at the opening of the debate that preceded the vote, he assured that the motion for a resolution “did not deal with abortion” as it was said by, according to him, “fundamentalists financed by millions of euros” from the United States and Russia.
In 2013, MEP Edite Estrela tried to pass a similar resolution, but the EP rejected it and recognized that the issue of abortion was the exclusive competence of the Member States. Matić recognizes that his initiative is heir to that of Estrela and hopes that, now ratified by the plenary, it will overturn the restrictions imposed on abortion throughout Europe.
On the same day that the Matić Report was voted on, during the debate on the Climate Neutrality Law, Finnish MEP Laura Huhtasaari emphatically warned: “if tomorrow this Parliament determines that Finnish forests will no longer be ours but the EU’s, that is going to be the day when we leave it.”
Well, it seems that the time has come for member countries to realize that children are worth more than trees.