Wednesday

19th Sep 2018

EU court delivers blow to anti-abortion activists

  • General Court of the European Union says the European Commission committed 'no error in its assessment of the legal situation.' (Photo: katarina_dzurekova)

The European Commission was right to deny demands by anti-abortion activists to launch new legislation - despite their successful citizen initiative bid on the subject, Europe's top judges have ruled.

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg on Monday (23 April) ruled a European citizen's initiative cannot require the commission to submit a proposal for a legal act.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The ruling follows a legal challenge by the Belgium-based "One of US" campaign. In 2014 it demanded the EU stop financing the destruction of human embryos.

The commission refused to act given, in part, that research into embryonic stem cells offer potential for life-saving treatments. "One of US" then pressed the case at Luxembourg-court, which they lost.

"A contrary interpretation would result in the commission being stripped of all discretion in exercising its powers of legislative initiative following a European citizens' initiative," said the court.

The campaign had amassed some 1.7 million signatures.

Of those, around 235,000 came from Poland alone, whose conservative government earlier this year introduced a bill to tighten abortion laws. The predominately Catholic country already has some of the toughest abortion laws in Europe.

"One of US" says any verdict that challenged its demands would amount to discrimination and render the citizen's initiative meaningless.

The campaign, which describes itself as an international federation rooted in common Christian values, is supported by right-wing Polish MEP Marek Jurek.

Jurek heads the Right of the Republic, a Polish Christian conservative party that aims to ban abortion and introduce capital punishment.

Opinion

EU's 'old men' must pressure Poland on abortion rights

Despite fresh crackdowns on Poland's already restrictive abortion laws, EU commission president Juncker did not raise the issue with the new Polish PM Morawiecki - perhaps because it was an all-male event?

Focus

Council of Europe warns on backlash to abortion access

In recent years, proposals for bans and restrictions on voluntary terminations have risen in some EU member states - as well as bills proposing more 'conditions' before women are allowed to access abortions.

News in Brief

  1. EU investigating BMW, Daimler and VW 'collusion'
  2. Spain wants special Gibraltar chapter in Brexit deal
  3. Italy cancels Vienna talks over South Tyrol 'dual citizenship'
  4. Britain will not accept Brexit deal with Irish Sea border
  5. Slovakia seeks witness to journalist killing
  6. Finland's Stubb considers running for EU commission job
  7. Romania ponders anti same-sex marriage referendum
  8. EU lawyers back Slovenia in Croatia border dispute

Opinion

Building a Europe more resilient to terrorism

One year to the day since the terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, the commissioner for home affairs spells out what action the EU is taking now to protect against further attacks.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  4. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  5. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  6. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  7. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  8. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  9. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  10. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want

Latest News

  1. EU promotes 'Egypt model' to reduce migrant numbers
  2. Tensions mount over Kosovo-Serbia deal
  3. New book: Why war is coming
  4. EU parliament will not budge on office expenses
  5. Why Orban's project to reshape EU politics will be unsuccessful
  6. 10 years after Lehman Brothers what has changed for EU consumers?
  7. Sefcovic launches bid to be EU Commission president
  8. Is Russia blackmailing the Council of Europe?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us