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Let us express our concern! Writing to or telephoning politicians who are going to vote on this in mid-April will be successful: the majority of Europeans does not support such a radical view on this issue!


Decriminalisation of abortion and compulsory sex education on the Council of Europe's agenda

On 11 March 2008 the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a report calling for “compulsory relationships and sex education for young people” and for the “decriminalisation of abortion” in all its member states. The report is now due to be discussed and voted during the plenary session from 14 to 18 April 2008.

The Council of Europe is an international institution, independent from the European Union. It has 47 members (such as UK, Russia and Turkey) and has only a consultative power. However, its reports can often be used as means of political pressure.

We are very concerned by this report, especially the lack of accuracy in some of its statements, such as its clearly false suggestion that there is a “worldwide consensus that reproductive rights [by which it means abortion rights] are part of human rights”. Moreover, the report then suggests that sex education leads to less sexual behaviour whereas abstinence programmes result in more abortion and that abortion rates are lower where abortion is legal. These statements are highly contestable!

Rather than seeking to make abortion a human right this report should encourage policies: a) promoting alternatives, such as adoption, and b) making provision for ‘informed consent’ where women are made fully aware of all relevant information when considering abortion including the psychological health risks and increased chances of pre-term births in subsequent pregnancies.

Please write to one of the MPs that sit on the Parliamentary Assembly expressing your grave concerns about the report and encouraging them to reject it in its current format and introduce appropriate amendments so that it does not seek to make abortion a human right (forcing it on countries where it remains illegal) and ensures that women considering abortions are: a) made fully aware of the health risks of proceeding, b) made aware of all the alternatives c) not rushed by medics of pressured by family.

(We thank Care for Europe, www.careforeurope.org, for this information.)


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