Saturday

25th Nov 2017

Parliament fails to pass report on women's reproductive rights

  • Reproductive and health rights are a national issue, say conservative MEPs (Photo: Wikipedia.org)

The European Parliament erupted in internal bickering on Tuesday (10 December) after an alliance of right-wing MEPs managed to sweep a report on sexual and reproductive rights for women from the table.

The report by Portuguese Social Democrat MEP Edite Estrela puts such rights on a par with other human rights and speaks of the "problematic reality" of teenage pregnancies, the importance of making contraception widely available, of comprehensive "non-judgemental" sexuality education and of "quality family planning services."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It also says that "women have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, timing and spacing of their children" and underlines the importance of safe abortions.

Estrela summed up the report as being about giving everybody the right to make "their own informed and responsible choices on their sexual and reproductive life."

However, controversy has long being brewing over the document, even though it is non-binding.

It was approved by a strong majority in the gender equality committee in September. But the following month, MEPs narrowly voted to send it back to the committee for a rethink.

The committee made few changes and resubmitted it for plenary vote.

But Tuesday saw MEPs narrowly vote in favour (334 to 327) of a counter resolution by an alliance of conservative, eurosceptic and far-right deputies.

Their resolution said the entire debate was an issue to be dealt with at the national level. Their successful bid meant that the Estrela report fell. The result was greeted by catcalls and jeering from the right in the house.

Estrela said the alliance had opened a "new front against the EU's founding principles of human dignity, freedom, equality and non-discrimination."

Hannes Swoboda, leader of the Socialists, said conservatives were "throwing away many years of progress on women's rights" and condemned the "misleading and demagogical campaign" against the report.

Corinne Lepage, a French Liberal MEP, tweeted: "I invite all women to look at who vote what on their rights and freedoms and with whom their shared their votes."

Austrian Green MEP Ulrike Lunacek said the centre-right had brought "shame" on the parliament and criticized the "ugly scenes" surrounding the vote.

She added that "contrary to the claims of those lobbying against it" the report "did not seek to impose a universal view on pregnancy termination, other than that where it is provided, it should be safe."

Dutch liberal MEP Sophie in't Veld said Tuesday's events illustrated that the European Parliament was no longer the focus just for big business lobbying - such as tobacco firms - but also for social and rights issues.

"The conservative religious lobby has found us too," she said.

EU posted workers face hurdles

Negotiations among the EU institutions will start soon, but could be difficult on several issues - like the inclusion of the transport sector or the duration of a posting.

EU overcomes divisions on posted workers

After a 12-hour discussion, EU employment ministers struck a compromise to reform the rules on workers posted in another country. The principle of equal pay for equal work has been adopted but the transport sector will get special treatment.

Investigation

How Romania became an EU workers' rights 'guinea pig'

"We are paid as if we were a country of unqualified workers". Union leaders and labour rights experts reveal, in figures, the catastrophic consequences of the laws that have turned Romania into the country of the working poor.

Opinion

Mind the gap: inequality in our cities

Minimum wages, 'living' wages and a universal basic income are all part of the ongoing mix to find ways to reduce social inequality across the EU.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Germany remains 'active' in EU
  2. Work with Israel, Egypt on gas exploration, says Commission
  3. Only seven EU states have 'advanced' stage climate plans
  4. EU dashes integration hopes of eastern countries
  5. EU approves joint Irish electricity scheme
  6. German president to launch 'Grand Coalition' talks
  7. Irish opposition 'threatens national interest', says minister
  8. SPD drops opposition to grand coalition in Germany

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSU-Eurelectric-IndustriAllElectricity European Social Partners Stand up for Just Energy Transition
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSignature of CEPA Marks a Fresh Start for EU-Armenia Relations
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  4. European Friends of ArmeniaPresident Sargsyan Joined EuFoA Honorary Council Inaugural Meeting
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  6. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  7. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  8. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  9. EPSUStudy Finds TUNED and Employers in Central Governments Most Representative
  10. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  11. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  12. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition