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8th term of the European Parliament: Summary

The elections in the European Union are an opportunity to summarise the most important activities of the 8th European Parliament, as well as the activity of Polish MEPs in matters relating to the protection of life from conception, the identity of marriage, or the right of parents to raise children in accordance with their own beliefs. This analysis leads to the conclusion that over the last 5 years the European Parliament’s active support for the postulates of the LGBT movement has actually grown.

Protection of life from conception

During its 8th term, the European Parliament increasingly spoke about the admissibility of killing unborn children in the Member States by abortion, presenting an increasingly stronger support for pro-abortion postulates. In its subsequent resolutions, the Parliament not only promoted the legalisation of prenatal murder, but also, in the first place, started to advocate the “right to abortion” construct as one of human rights.

The breakthrough moment for the “machinery of abortion” was the adoption of two controversial resolutions in March 2015. In the document known as the Tarabella report, it is stated that “women must have control over their sexual and reproductive health and rights, not least by having ready access to contraception and abortion”. Then, in the document known as the Panzeri report, the European Parliament presented “the right to access voluntary family planning and safe and legal abortion” as inalienable rights of women and girls.

Then, in the document of 8 September 2015, the European Parliament recognised that “sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are fundamental rights and an essential element of human dignity, gender equality and self-determination”. What must be clarified here is that the term “sexual and reproductive rights”, which is promoted in international law by leftist circles, covers, among others, a postulate to legalise prenatal murder. The Parliament confirmed the definition of the above-mentioned concept in its resolution of 14 February 2017, stating that “sexual and reproductive rights include access to legal and safe abortion”.

In February 2017, in its recommendation to the Council on the EU priorities for the 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the European Parliament took a strong position on the internal policy of the United States of America, condemning the ‘global gag’ rule, which prohibits international organisations from receiving US family planning funding if they provide the services of killing the unborn by abortion, or counsel for, or refer to such services, or lobby for the establishment of women’s “right” to prenatal murder.

In March 2017, the European Parliament adopted a resolution in which it called on the Member States to guarantee ready access for women to the full range of reproductive and sexual health services, including “safe and legal abortion”. At the same time, it criticised “the excessive use” of conscientious objection clauses in some States, as resulting in hindered access to sexual and reproductive health services. It should be emphasized here that the “right to abortion” does not exist, whereas key human rights include the right to act in accordance with one’s own conscience and be free from coercion to act against it.

In September 2017, the European Parliament came to another far-reaching conclusion that the denial of “safe and legal abortion” is a form of violence against women and girls. Two months later, the Parliament explicitly spoke for a possibility of murder in the case of a seriously ill unborn child, which violates the right to life and the rights of people with disabilities.

In the report of January 2019 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2017, the European Parliament considered that one of the manifestations of inequality of women in the European Union was not having the same “right” to kill an unborn child in all Member States. In addition, it reiterated that the denial of access to a possibility of killing an unborn child by abortion is a form of violence against women and girls, and called on the Member States to guarantee ready access to the full range of reproductive and sexual health services.

In its resolution of 13 February 2019 on experiencing a backlash in women’s rights and gender equality in the EU, the European Parliament stated, among others, that the European Union was allegedly hostile towards women. According to MEPs, campaigners and organisations fighting for the protection of the unborn, and which are against in vitro procedures, granting privileges to the LGBT subculture and the right to change the “gender identity” are supposedly seeking to repeal the provisions on basic human rights, and thus undermine the rights of women. The Parliament expressed concern that the pro-life campaigners who tried to abolish or reduce a possibility of killing unborn children “have had a significant influence on national law and policy”. In addition, MEPs once again put the denial of access to a possibility of killing an unborn child by abortion on a par with an act of violence against women.

 

Marriage, sex education, “gender”

On a number of occasions over the last parliamentary term, the European Parliament also took a position with regard to other postulates of the LGBT movement.

Although the European Union has no competence to shape family law in the Member States, in the Report on the EU Strategy for equality between women and men post 2015, we still can find a recommendation that “family and work legislation [should] be made more comprehensive with regard to single-parent families and LGBT parenting”, which is associated with increasing pressure to take away the legal protection from marriage as a union of a man and a woman in favour of institutionalisation of same-sex partnerships. In the same document, the Parliament called on the Member States to provide sex education and access to contraception for young people. What is more, MEPs expressed their disapproval of educational institutions that practised gender segregation. They also called for the fight against gender stereotypes and the establishment by the Member States of “university chairs in gender studies and feminist research”.

In its report from December 2015 on human rights and democracy in the world 2014 and the EU policy on the matter, the European Parliament suggested that basic rights of LGBT persons would be better respected if they had access to a registered partnership or an institutionalised marriage with privileges reserved for marriages.

In its resolution of March 2018, the Parliament welcomed the fact that some States institutionalised same-sex partnerships, and called on the European Commission “to put forward a proposal for the full mutual recognition of the effects of all civil status documents across the EU, including with regard to legal gender recognition, marriages and registered partnerships”. By the same token, the Parliament tried to impose on the States that had not introduced such regulations, the obligation to recognise legal effects of “same-sex marriages” that had been entered into in the Member States that allow for such formalisation of the same-sex union, with all its consequences (including the adoption of children). In addition, the Parliament supported “initiatives prohibiting LGBTI conversion therapies”, which may be a violation of the right to care. The resolution also called on the Member States to respect and uphold “the right to gender identity and gender expression”, which is tantamount to the practical implementation of the “gender” ideology.

Then, in the Annual report on human rights and democracy in the world 2017 and the European Union’s policy on the matter, adopted in November 2018, the EP condemned forms of discrimination, including on grounds of “sexual orientation and gender identity”, and, at the same time, subtly imposed the acceptance of the “gender” ideology, paying particular attention to the promotion of the LGBT subculture. The document stressed the importance of “developing education strategies in schools in order to raise awareness among children and provide them with the tools they need to identify all forms of discrimination”. In fact, behind such wording of the document we find support for organising such events at educational establishments as “Rainbow Fridays”, i.e. the events promoting LGBT movement and the privileges they are demanding related to the formalisation of same-sex common-law marriages, or the adoption of children.

In its resolution of 16 January 2019 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2017, the European Parliament not only criticises the use of conversion therapies for people identifying themselves as LGBT, but also called on the Member States to consider them a crime. Similar provisions can be found in the resolution on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2017. These provisions can be considered contrary to the right to freedom of expression, the right to have one’s private and family life respected, and the right to medical care, which constitute the core of human rights.

In the resolution on experiencing a backlash in women’s rights and gender equality in the EU that has already been mentioned above, the Parliament criticised the States that failed to provide sex education complying with the World Health Organisation’s guidelines that are based on the ‘gender’ ideology. In addition, the EP spoke against those who criticised the Istanbul Convention. According to MEPs, the criticism of the Istanbul Convention was allegedly aimed at spreading the “hate speech” towards LGBT movement representatives.

 

Before the elections to the European Parliament, it is worth looking at how Polish deputies have recently voted on issues related to protection of life from conception, the identity of marriage, and the right of parents to raise children in accordance with their own beliefs:

  1. As regards the Annual report on human rights and democracy in the world 2017 and the European Union’s policy on the matter of 21 November 2018, only 3 MEPs from the European Conservatives and Reformists voted against it (M. Jurek, U. Krupa, M. Piotrowski). The others abstained or were absent from the session. Other MEPs who voted against the report were: M. Marusik from the Europe of Nations and Freedom, R. Iwaszkiewicz from the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy, and a non-attached member, D. Sośnierz. Out of the MEPs from the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), only one voted against (J. Wałęsa); eight MEPs supported the resolution, and 10 abstained or did not vote. Three out of five MEPs of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (L. Geringer de Oedenberg, A. Gierek, J. Zemke) supported the resolution (two did not vote), as did a non-attached MEP, K. Ujazdowski.
  2. As regards the resolution of 16 January 2019 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2017, votes against were cast by MEPs from the Europe of Nations and Freedom (M. Marusik, S. Żółtek), from the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (R. Iwaszkiewicz) and all MEPs from the European Conservatives and Reformists, except for A. Fotyga (absent) and K. Karski and R. Legutko (they did not vote). Non-attached MEPs: D. Sośnierz and J. Saryusz-Wolski voted against too. Out of the MEPs from the European People’s Party, only two voted against the resolution (J. Wałęsa and J. Olbrycht); four of them abstained or did not vote, and others supported the resolution. All the MEPs from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and a non-attached MEP, K. Ujazdowski voted in favour of the resolution as well.
  3. As regards the resolution on experiencing a backlash in women’s rights and gender equality in the EU from February 2019, all MEPs from the Europe of Nations and Freedom, the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy and the European Conservatives and Reformists, as well as non-attached MEPs present at the session voted against. Out of the MEPs from the European People’s Party, only two voted against the resolution (J. Kalinowski, J. Olbrycht and J. Wałęsa). 11 members of the faction voted for the document, while 2 abstained, and 2 did not vote. All the MEPs from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats voted in favour of the resolution as well.

 

It is worth pointing out that although resolutions of the European Parliament are not generally applicable, they still serve as a guide to the actions of the EU institutions, and create the acquis communautaire. That is why, it may be disturbing to see so much support among MEPs of the postulates that are contrary to human rights, the rights of pa

Autor: Magdalena Olek

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