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Attempt to enforce controversial demands at European Parliament

Published: 01.06.2021

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This is the next step of the ideological agenda of EU institutions. In early May, the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality of the European Parliament adopted a report on ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’. However, its final version has not been published yet, which undoubtedly aims at reducing the critical reception of the controversial report. It uses the term ‘sexual and reproductive rights’ as binding and as part of human rights, although it has never been approved by the international community. Furthermore, the EP is not competent to interfere in the health policy of Member States.


The report was prepared by a Croatian socialist, MEP Predrag Fred Matić. It contains numerous false statements and uses terms that have not been legally defined as binding (yet it claims that they are part of the law). The report makes references to calumnies against Member States, which have been refuted time and time again, and quotes data from unreliable sources. Importantly, in the draft regulation the report authors demand that the European Parliament overstep its competence by interfering in the areas of law that are the sole competence of Member States.


Huge opposition to ideological demands


The proposed document caused a wide response – 503 amendment suggestions were submitted. On 10 May, the case was voted on by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM). Substantive critical voices against the controversial premises of the report met mostly with the disapproval of the Committee members. The vast majority of the amendments that would put a cap on the dangerous ideas of the report authors were rejected. On 11 May, FEMM adopted the final version of the report. However, the approved text has not been officially published yet. Another step will be the final vote in the European Parliament, which will probably take place in late June. Usually, final versions of such documents have been published directly after adoption. In this case, there is substantiated suspicion that the aim of the undue delay is to mitigate the opposition against the report.


What is most important is that the text contains a number of statements that have never been fully approved in the international arena. The term ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ (SRHR) is not present in any valid treaty, and for many years several countries have rejected the use of it. The term also has no clear definition. The situation is taken advantage of by leftist lobbies, which practically treat ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ as demands of, among others, popular acceptance of abortion, permissive sexual education or promotion of the gender theory. A similar term (‘reproductive health and rights’) was introduced in non-binding outcome documents of the UN conferences in Cairo (1994) and Beijing (1995), as well as in the EU Sustainable Development Goals (2015), but the term used there did not contain a separate category of ‘sexual rights’. Nevertheless, for many years, we have seen a tendency of regularly including alleged ‘sexual rights’ in all possible documents and publications. Without a doubt, the purpose is to familiarise the public opinion with the term, and then to enforce it into the international legal terminology.


What does FEMM want to enforce?


The proposed report presents the non-existent ‘sexual rights’ as supposedly binding international obligations and part of human rights (e.g. letters C, F, K of the draft regulation). It is a blatant lie and purposeful manipulation. The document also attempts at imposing a specific definition of those ‘rights’. Among others, ‘safe and legal abortion care and services’ are considered an element of ‘SRH services [that] are essential healthcare services’ (letter J of the draft report).


In light of Article 6 and Article 168 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, sexual and reproductive health is within the scope of national health policies. EU institutions only have subsidiary competence and cannot aim at unification of this area of the law of Member States. It is questionable whether the EU is even authorised to speak or express opinions on these matters. This applies to the access to abortion and the demand to implement obligatory reimbursement of contraception.


The report and the draft regulations that it contains are yet another attempt at pressurising Member States in the field reserved to them. It is also clear that FEMM has no intention of joining a discussion, as evidenced in its rejection of most of the amendments and the undue delay in publishing the final version of the document. We must now count on the strong opposition of the authorities of sovereign countries to attempts to interfere in their prerogatives.


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