Monday 10/25/21
WOMEN'S RIGHTS

European Parliament demands access to legal abortion

One of the most problematic obstacles to access to abortion is the denial of medical care on the basis of personal conviction, it said in a justification letter.
HANDOUT - 24 June 2021, Belgium, Brussels: European Parliament president David Sassoli speaks during a press conference, on the first day of a two-days European Union summit at the European Council. Photo: Mario Salerno/European Council/dpa - ATTENTION: editorial use only and only if the credit mentioned above is referenced in full
European Parliament president David Sassoli speaks during a press conference. Photo: Mario Salerno/European Council/dpa.

The European Parliament has called for access to safe and legal abortions in the European Union.

Member states should ensure that abortions in early pregnancy are legal, a report adopted in Brussels said on Thursday.

Later abortions should also be possible if the life or health of the pregnant person is at risk, it said.

In the report, the parliament urged EU countries to decriminalize abortion and remove obstacles to legal abortions.

One of the most problematic obstacles to access to abortion is the denial of medical care on the basis of personal conviction, it said in a justification letter.

While it is legitimate for medical staff to invoke this, it should not jeopardize access to health care.

Legal and informal barriers

The European Parliament's report can also be read as supporting calls for the legalisation of abortion.

Even if abortions are not illegal, there are often a number of legal, quasi-legal and informal barriers to the procedure, it said. These include limited time periods and reasons to perform abortions, as well as authorization by third parties.

In Germany, for example, abortion is generally punishable under the controversial Section 218 of the Criminal Code.

For the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, however, abortions are decriminalized if there has been prior counseling, there is a health risk or the pregnancy arose as a result of a sexual offence.

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