Abortion Wake-up Call from Strasbourg

April 17th 2008                                                                         

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FoetusPro-Life parliamentarians and the Christian Charity CARE have expressed great concern at the passing of the Resolution ‘Legal Abortion in Europe’ by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Strasbourg) yesterday (April 16th) by 102 votes to 69 with 14 abstentions.

Among other things, the Resolution claims that women have a right to access safe and legal abortion, and calls on all member states to decriminalise abortion 'within reasonable gestational limits'.


Speaking immediately after the vote Nigel Dodds MP, member of the Parliamentary Assembly, said, ‘This is a very sad day for Europe's unborn children, but the fight goes on.’


Hannah Macsween of CARE for Europe (Strasbourg) said. ‘It is of huge concern that the Parliamentary Assembly is seeking to pressure states to decriminalise abortion. It is also shocking that the Assembly should have passed this Resolution without explicitly acknowledging the growing evidence of a link between abortion and subsequent health problems for women, including psychological trauma and pre-term births in later pregnancies. Talking about a “woman’s right to choose” to have an abortion becomes a logical nonsense if it is not complemented with a commitment to a “woman’s right to know” about all the implications of having an abortion.’


Jim Dobbin MP, Chair of the All Party Pro Life Group (Westminster) said, ‘The resistance of intelligent people to the truth, even when it involves gross irresponsibility in relation to a woman’s right to know, is frightening. I hope that this development will serve as a wake up call to the people of Britain, underlining the importance of working very much harder at getting the truth about abortion out in the public square ahead of the debate in the House of Commons on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill between May and July. We are on the edge of the greatest pro-life battle for 40 years and we need to be ready.’


Nola Leach, Chief Executive of CARE added, ‘It is now more important than ever for all people of good will to take the time to study the key abortion arguments regarding foetal sentience, disability, the health implications for the mother etc so that we can use them in letters to parliamentarians, newspapers, contributions to radio programmes etc. Britain is acting grossly irresponsibly in relation to both unborn children and their mothers.  We all now have a responsibility to engage.’


David Fieldsend Manager of CARE for Europe concluded, ‘We are pleased that three amendments did succeed yesterday, making the final Resolution slightly less bad! First, there was the introduction of the notion of abortion ‘within reasonable gestational limits,’ making it clear that there are limits. This is particularly useful in the UK where abortion on the basis of disability can take place right up to birth! Then there was the insertion of a statement regarding to the importance of encouraging young people to delay sexual activity and finally an acknowledgement that women can be pressured into having abortions and that counselling must engage with this challenge.’


Happily this Council of Europe Resolution can’t compel member states to change their laws but it could have some influence. Moreover, this Resolution will have to be endorsed by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers before it has full effect.

If you have been affected by abortion and are looking for a source of help, click CareConfidential below or - Telephone 0800 028 2228 (national helpline) or 01463 713999 (Highlands and Islands).
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Legal Abortion in Europe, Assembly debate on 16 April 2008 (15th Sitting)


To find out more about the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill campaign please visit www.passionforlife.org.uk


To listen to some women's experiences <click here>.


CARE, 17/04/2008