On Human Rights Day, the European Parliament says NO to womenâ€™s rights
Brussels, 10 December 2013
On 10 December, the European Parliament failed to adopt the progressive Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) authored by S&D MEP Edite Estrela, missing a great opportunity to promote women and girls’ rights. Though non-binding, the report (if adopted) would have been a strong political statement from the EP in defence of these rights.
By a narrow majority of 333 votes against 332, Members of the European Parliament voted instead in favour of a centre-right and far-right Resolution which declines any responsibility of the EU in the area of SRHR. This resolution initiated by conservatives only aimed at avoiding a debate on this issue at the European level and at undermining any further role of the European Union in the area of women’s rights.
By failing to adopt the Estrela report, a majority of MEPs renounced to recognize the right for women and everyone to make their own informed and responsible choices on their sexual and reproductive life, including access to contraception and the right to abortion. They have also ignored the need to increase the fight against gender-based violence and sexually transmitted infections including HIV.
The European Humanist Federation deeply regrets that conservatives eventually managed to block any further progress on SRHR, which is not in line with the European Union’s international commitments’ on SRHR and human rights. The EHF also strongly condemns the misleading and brutal campaign conducted by extremist religious groups and conservatives who have spread the worst lies about the report using personal threats towards MEPs. The EHF is nevertheless pleased that the European Parliament rejected another far-right alternative resolution which would have endorsed a very conservative EP’s position on SRHR.
The EHF warmly thanks Edite Estrela for her courageous work and MEPs and NGOs who supported this excellent report. At a time when rising economic difficulties challenge the health information and treatment available to Europeans, sexual and reproductive health and rights remain a crucial issue to mobilise for and will not disappear from the political agenda. The EHF will keep working on it and encourages European citizens to remember who voted against their rights in view of the upcoming European elections.
European Humanist Federation
For further information, contact Julie Pernet at julie.pernet(at)laicite.net or +32 2 627 68 24.
Previous EHF articles on this issue (in EHF news):
“Sexual and Reproductive Rights ARE Human Rights” – Joint Statement by civil society organisations calling on MEPs to support the Estrela Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, 6 Dec
“Women’s rights threatened again by conservatives at the European Parliament”, 3 Dec
« MEPs refuse to support women’s reproductive & sexual health and rights”, 22 Oct
“Mobilize your MEPs to support EP report on women’s sexual and reproductive rights” 16 Oct