Religious and political conservatives block vote on reproductive health and rights report

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Members of the European Parliament were due to vote on a report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights today. Instead, intense lobbying by right-wing religious and political conservatives mustered enough support to send the report back to the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality.

Edite ESTRELA MEP, Rapporteur

Edite Estrela MEP, Rapporteur

Authored by Edite Estrela MEP (S&D, Portugal), the report calls for universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights throughout Europe.

This includes safe and legal abortion services; comprehensive sexuality education; teaching about negative LGBTI stereotypes; or the prevention and treatment of sexually-transmitted diseases.

The non-binding report also contains several recommendations in favour of LGBTI people, including recommendations against the mandatory sterilisation of transgender persons; universal access to medically assisted procreation for single women and lesbian couples; or the right to access non-discriminatory information about sexual orientation and gender identity.

Religious and political conservatives lobbied intensely against this report with outright lies. They wrongly said, for instance, that the report would force Member States to change abortion rules, or include mandatory teaching about masturbation to 0-4 year-olds.

MEPs voted on a motion to send the report back to the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, backed by right-wing groups (351 in favour, 319 against, see voting record).

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-President of the LGBT Intergroup and spokesperson for the Greens/EFA group, reacted: “It was shameful. Right-wing bigots from the EFD, ECR and EPP groups argued against this report, and women’s right to a safe and healthy reproductive and sexual life.”

“They bullied the chamber into taking a vote which shouldn’t have taken place, and then booed the Rapporteur when she took the floor.”

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-President of the Intergroup and author of an opinion on the report, added: “This has achieved nothing but send an excellent text back to the Committee on Women’s Rights. The majorities will be the same, our support even stronger, and we will see this report adopted before the end of our mandate. Shame to those who voted against women’ and LGBTI rights.”

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