The EU agrees on rejecting the decisions taken by Trump’s administration concerning aborting, but seems to have forgotten that the subject is outside its control and is stifling the voices that denounce abortion.
The “Mexico City policy”, reestablished by Trump last January, bans international non-governmental organizations from giving out any information about the subject in developing countries. Rebaptised “global gag rule” at the European Parliament, this measure and its consequences were debated in plenary session in Strasbourg last Tuesday, under the leadership of Christos Stylianides, the European commissioner in charge of humanitarian aids.
The commissioner said he was “concerned” about the “negative effects” of this decision, which “could have an impact on the [European] objectives concerning world development”. That is why he wishes to find a common agreement within the EU to go against these impacts. According to him, “EU policies are based on our priorities and values and not on what others in the world do or stop doing”. Following his reasoning, does this mean abortion is a European value?
Several Eurodeputies shared his “indignation” and asked for the creation of a European budget to compensate for any future deficit of the organizations concerned. The Dutch Eurodeputy, Sophia in’t Veld, thus tabled an amendment to the EU budget project. According to these deputies, we risk seeing the mortality of women increase due to clandestine abortions. They therefore use arguments such as “health”, “security”, and even “child protection”. Malin Björk (Sweden) declared it was a “question of life and death for women across the world”. Charles Goerens from Luxemburg even defended abortion as a support to “doctors who save lives” with abortion. In the meantime, in Africa, women are still waiting for funds to be able to give birth safely. The world seems to be moving backwards.
Despite these several sensible answers, the debate came out as a long standoff, full of one-sided vocabulary. From now on abortion has become a “humanitarian issue” for the European Parliament, which “saves lives”. A definition that allows no contradictions, no questioning, not even on its form! It remains to be seen whether these “debates” will be remembered as a simple “well-though” agitation or if they will be turned into real actions through funding. To be continued…