MEPs refuse to support women’s reproductive & sexual health and rights

22 October 2013

 Brussels, 22 October 2013

At its plenary session of 22 October, the European Parliament experienced a tense debate on the very progressive report on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) authored by MEP Edite Estrela (S&D). Conservative anti-choice MEPs loudly shouted Edite Estrela down and requested to get the report referred back in committee. A majority of MEPs voted in favor of this request (351 against 319) and the report was therefore taken out from the EP agenda.

Hopefully, an alternative resolution authored by conservatives MEPs, which sought to defend a dignified vision of maternal health, to extend conscientious objection and to promote “healthy” sexual education for children, was rejected.

As several MEPs pointed it out during the debate, this boycott is another clear attempt of conservatives to impede any progressive move related to women’s SRHR. On 17 September, the report was adopted with a clear majority within the Women’s rights and Gender Equality Committee (17 MEPs in favor, 7 against) and there was no reason to refer it back for further discussions.

Prior to the vote, this report had been strongly attacked by MEPs opposed to contraception, abortion rights and comprehensive sexual education and by several extremist religious organisations. Together with NGOs committed to women’s rights and gender equality, the EHF had worked to mobilise MEPs for this vote.

The EHF strongly regrets that the European Parliament as a whole did not commit today to protect women’s rights further. The EHF also wishes to thank Edite Estrela for her great work on this important issue and progressive MEPs who mobilized in favor of it.

In the coming weeks, our organisation will continue its action towards MEPs to make sure that further conservative attempts to undermine the report are blocked within the Committee and in the plenary.


Ckeck the list of MEPs who voted to refer it back to Committee here.

For further information : Julie Pernet, policy officer : |+32 2 627 68 24