EU guarantees right for safe legal abortion

Photo: EPA

The European parliament passed a resolution that guarantees the right of every woman for legal and safe abortion, Reuters reported. The bill comes as part of EU efforts to protect women's health. The resolution calls for all 27 Member States to amend legislation. The resolution, approved by 378 to 255 votes, said the Covid-19 pandemic had limited the access to many services crucial for sexual and reproductive health and rights, claiming that pandemic had affected women more than men.

The vote came on the same day with a referendum held in Gibraltar with a question whether it should ease one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe.

While most of European countries have legalised abortion, some impose restrictions, and deep divisions over abortion rights remain. Rights activists say women's rights in EU came under pressure in last years, especially in Poland, whose nationalist government has introduced a de-facto ban on abortion.

The parliamentary resolution calls on EU countries to step up regular health screenings, improve access to contraception and other fertility treatments, and combat menstrual poverty. It calls for laws to be passed to safeguard the rights of intersex persons and demands better sexual education for children.

The vote in the European Parliament followed a heated debate and lawmakers ended up voting on more than 50 amendments to the resolution. Supporters argued that the strengthening of sexual and reproductive health and rights was necessary to guarantee equality and honour democratic human rights. Opponents inisted that access to abortion would not improve women's health and that the right to life was fundamental.

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