In addition to describing abortion as an “essential” health service and rejecting conscientious objection, the report declares that violations of “sexual and reproductive health and rights” are “a form of violence against women and girls.”
Only two of the EU’s 27 member states -- Poland and Malta -- do not permit abortion on demand or on broad social grounds.
The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), an NGO based in Strasbourg, France, suggested that the report’s supporters were seeking “to introduce a new norm without it appearing at first sight to be imposed.”
It said: “The choice of the institution in this strategy is not to be underestimated, because although the resolutions of the European Parliament have no binding legal value, they are the expression of an opinion that the Parliament wishes to make known.”
“A resolution may subsequently serve to politically legitimize action by the member states or the institutions; it is intended to produce practical effects.”
“More importantly, it can express a pre-legislative intention that can later be used to justify binding acts. There is, therefore, no doubt that an act of the European Parliament represents the gateway to the heart of the normative system.”
CNA Deutsch reported that the group Christian Democrats for Life criticized the European Parliament vote.
It said that “the spirit of the Christian founding fathers of the European Union is turned into the absolute opposite by this decision, which will certainly lead to a further inner turning away from Europe among many citizens of the Union.”
The initiative Maria 1.0 also deplored the vote, saying that the European Parliament’s appeal for access to “safe and legal abortions” in the EU “borders on the cruelest barbarism.”
David Sassoli, the president of the European Parliament, is expected to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday.
This report has been updated to include the comments of Archbishop Franz Lackner, president of the Austrian bishops’ conference.
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