After the right to abortion was overturned in the USA, the EU Parliament wants to include this in the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. The statement said they wanted to make progress on women’s rights.

After the reversal of a fundamental US ruling on the legalization of abortion, the European Parliament called for the inclusion of the right to an abortion in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The sentence “Everyone has the right to a safe and legal abortion” should be included in the charter, demanded the majority of MPs on Thursday in Strasbourg in a non-binding resolution. Accordingly, the member states should now deal with it.

The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, adopted in 2000, is legally binding and has the same status as the EU Treaties. The inclusion of abortion rights in the charter requires unanimity among member countries under the current EU treaties, which currently does not exist. In their resolution, MEPs therefore also called for the possibility of amending the treaties.

MEPs criticize US abortion ruling

Many of the parliamentarians “again in the strongest possible terms condemned the backsliding in women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health” worldwide, “including in the USA and in some EU member states”.

“The US Supreme Court’s decision is a major setback for women’s rights and for all of us self-determination,” said SPD MEP Maria Noichl. Green MEP Terry Reintke said: “Ideological trench warfare must no longer be waged on women’s bodies and health.”

“Strong women’s rights” are “an achievement that the whole of Europe can be proud of,” said EU Gender Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli in Strasbourg on Monday. “We should go forward, not backward.” French MP Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé from the conservative EPP group also warned on Monday that “women’s rights are also under threat” in Europe.

On Thursday, many Conservative and Christian Democrat MPs – including EPP Group leader Manfred Weber (CSU) – voted against the resolution.

Strict abortion laws also apply in some parts of the EU

On June 24, the US Supreme Court overturned abortion rights that had been in force for five decades. The Supreme Court, the majority of which was made up of conservative judges, overturned the landmark “Roe v. Wade” ruling from 1973, which had generally allowed abortions nationwide.

But strict abortion laws also apply in some parts of the EU: abortions are banned in Malta – illegal abortions can result in imprisonment for those affected. Poland tightened its strict abortion law in autumn 2020. Since then, abortions have only been allowed after rape or when the mother’s life or health is in danger. The family of a mother who died earlier this year made serious allegations against the treating doctors after the law was changed. Accordingly, because of the strict abortion law in Poland, they would not have dared to save the woman’s life through an abortion.

In Germany, an abortion is strictly prohibited according to Section 218 of the Criminal Code. In the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, however, abortions remain unpunished if there was prior counseling, the pregnancy resulted from a sexual offense such as rape, or there are health risks.