Brussels, 12 January 2017 – MEP Heidi Hautala (Finland, Greens) hosted the launch of a new report drafted by consultant Elena Zacharenko compiling everything that one must know about anti-choice lobbyists and groups in Europe. It bears the title Perspectives on anti-choice lobbying in Europe.
The report provides an overview on the main drivers of anti-choice movements, briefly introduces the most active groups and summarizes their usual methods and tactics.
Prominently, organisations such as the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the European Dignity Watch (EDW), One of Us as well as supporting actors such as the blog Agenda Europe and the online petition platform CitizenGo are described. Interestingly enough, none of these groups’ names contain explicit religious references. And this is one of their forces: they often portray themselves as human rights activists and NGOs and adopt human-rights terminology to push their agendas.
A further interesting finding of the report is that many of these organisations have quite a big overlap in membership, meaning that their numbers seem bigger than they actually are. This is how e.g. the head of ADF is also a founder of EDW and their Legal Counsel is in the committee behind the Mum, Dad and the Kids petition.
Furthermore, concerning the strategies used by these organisations, the report very well points out how some tactics are commonly used by many of these organisations. While there is not enough space to make a deep dive into such techniques in the few lines of this news item, we will still mention two of them.
Slandering for instance is one of the most used practices whereby e.g. Planned Parenthood organisations are portrayed as selling baby corpses or organs or advocates of sexual education are depicted as wanting to introduce compulsory masturbation in schools. You don’t believe us? Have a look:
Redefining commonly agreed concepts and misusing them: this is the case of the word “dignity” for instance that is so important in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that it is the very first concept cited in its preamble and it is enclosed in its Article 1. Anti-choice actors have become masters in depicting this term as a justification for their reactionary agendas. See the example below.
Recommendations and use of the report
The report ends with a set of recommendations for EU and national politicians to resist the rhetorics used by these groups and assert more progressive ones truly supporting human rights and equality.
As Ms. Heitala puts it: “It is useful to gain more insight into these organisations and understand what drives their support. This study presents the networks and identifies the actors who are part of the anti-choice movement that is active in the EU, and shows the questionable ways of promoting their cause. Most importantly, I believe it is crucial for pro-choice forces across the political spectrum to mobilise together to defend the rights we have fought so hard to secure.”
To read the report, please follow this link.
You can also have a look at our very own work on the subject here: