Following the US Supreme Court’s recent decision over Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed the right to abortion since 1973, many countries fear an outbreak of conservative measures on their own territory. To guard against this and to guarantee women this essential right, the European Parliament called on Thursday 7 July to permanently enshrine this right in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.
During the plenary session in Strasbourg, MEPs asked the Council of Europe, whose role is to represent member states, to formally protect women’s rights in the field of abortion. Result, the resolution that “Everyone has the right to a safe and legal abortion” was adopted by 324 votes (155 against, 38 abstentions).
“EU countries must ensure access to safe, legal and free abortion services, prenatal and maternity care, voluntary family planning, contraception, youth-friendly services and HIV prevention, treatment and support, without discrimination”we can read in the resolution.
A worrying situation, even in Europe
The European Parliament has again condemned the decision of the US Supreme Court on June 24, but at the same time pointed to the worrying situation in several European countries. So the authority warned on the “rolling back women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States and some member states”†
Indeed, the problem is not only on the other side of the Atlantic: Poland in particular, in 2020, passed one of the most restrictive laws in Europe, prohibiting abortion in the case of serious fetal malformations, even fatal.
In concrete terms, the Charter of Fundamental Rights has the same legal value as the Treaties, i.e. it is binding on the EU bodies, but also on the Member States when implementing Union law. Every European citizen can therefore benefit if a European text deviates from the principles of the Charter. The only problem is that Poland and the Czech Republic have precisely negotiated a different arrangement for its application.
So vigilance is still required… also in Europe.