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29th Nov 2021

Progressive MEPs propose Texan abortion doctors get EU refuge

  • Demonstrations for greater abortion rights in Poland also took place earlier this year (Photo: Łódzkie Dziewuchy Dziewuchom)
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Progressive MEPs are piling on pressure for US state Texas to scrap its anti-abortion bill, with some proposing doctors seek refuge in Europe if necessary.

The moves by socialists S&D, liberal Renew Europe, the Greens, and the Left are part of a non-binding resolution to be voted on in the European Parliament on Thursday (7 October).

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All four groups in the EU Parliament have condemned the Texan abortion laws, also seen as an affront to gender equality by the US administration under president Joe Biden.

A motion floated by the Greens says EU member states should "offer a safe-haven for all medical professionals who might be at risk of legal or other form of harassment."

The Greens and the liberal Renew Europe are also demanding possible EU funding support for US-based civil society groups defending abortion rights.

In the opposing camp are the conservative ECR group, who tabled a counter motion demanding the EU stay out of US internal affairs when it comes to "ideological views".

The largest political family in the house, the centre-right EPP, have remained silent on the matter possibly because the issue is divisive among some of its members and because a separate EU-US debate had also been held.

The resolution was pushed by the socialists and greens, which had initially wanted it tabled in the last plenary.

The Texan bill, which was temporarily blocked by a federal US judge on Thursday, seeks to ban abortions approximately after six weeks of pregnancy, while incentivising others to sue anyone involved in carrying out the procedure.

Critics say the bill will de-facto end abortions in the state.

The US Supreme Court legalised abortion in the 1970s in a case known as Roe v. Wade, but this freedom is increasingly being challenged, in light of conservative judges appointed by former US president Donald Trump, who are now sitting on the bench.

It is not the first time the European Parliament has tabled resolutions on abortion.

Earlier this year, MEPs slammed Poland's near-total abortion ban and voted in favour of safer abortions over the summer, while Gibraltar held a referendum on its own laws.

And the EU Parliament passed a similar motion on abortion rights in El Salvador in late 2017.

MEPs slam Polish abortion ban: 'Women will suffer'

MEPs have condemned the near-total ban on the right to abortion in Poland, following the entry into force of the country's Constitutional Tribunal ruling - which makes 98 percent of all abortions carried out annually in the country illegal.

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