The Council of Europe and the “right” to abortion

Publié le 31 Mar, 2008

The parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted, on the 16th of last April, with 102 votes against 69 and 14 abstentions, a resolution project called “access to safe and legal abortion”.

This project is derived from an established report – from hearings of pro-abortion militant NGO, in large majority – and approved on the 11th of March 2008, by the commission of the PACE on equality of chances for women and men. While admitting that abortion should be avoided as far as possible and in any case cannot be considered as a mean of family planning, this report gives three objectives to the member countries of the Council of Europe:

– decriminalising abortion if it is not already done (Monaco, Andorra, Malta, Ireland and Poland are thus affected);

– guaranteeing the effective exercise and lifting the restrictions which block the access to safe abortion;

– promoting the access to contraception and making the sexual education of young people obligatory.


Abortion and “right” for women


The resolution project foresees to consider abortion as a “right” included in the reproduction rights; however this right has never been recognised by international authorities, like the UNO or the European Union. Today, under the principle of subsidiarity, each member state is sovereign over the abortion issue. Such an action aims at extracting it from the States’ competence.


Lifting the restrictions


In countries where abortion is decriminalised, the report reveals the obstacles to access to it. This way it denounces a “lack” of proximity care structures, the obligatory medical consultations, the cooling off period and the fact that physicians can resort to consciousness objection. Thus it invites the States to “make the necessary decisions to create the sanitary, medical and psychological conditions appropriated to an “informed and free choice”.


Medical abortions


As a conclusion, the resolution proposes to favour a quick decision of the woman (free from medical and moral restrictions) so that the medical abortions can be proposed.


Amnesty International


The report is finally based on the position of Amnesty International which, during its International Conference on 17th August 2007, declared “supporting the decriminalisation of the abortion” and “defending the possibility for women to resort to voluntary pregnancy termination when their health or their life are in danger”. 

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