EWL News

Distorted vote on the Estrela report: the European Parliament shows continuous support for sexual rights

[Joint statement of 10 NGOs, Brussels, 19 December 2013] Following last week’s news that the European Parliament voted against an anti-choice position but also resolved not to endorse the progressive Estrela report on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), it has emerged that the voting results were seriously affected by several technical errors.

Originally it was declared that the joint European People’s Party (EPP)/European Conservative and Reformists (ECR) alternative resolution had passed by a margin of seven votes replacing the Estrela report. But this figure has now been revised following the correction of errors in last week’s vote. It was revealed that an equal number of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted for and against the alternative EPP/ECR resolution where a number of MEPs votes were recorded incorrectly, or not recorded at all. Had these votes been correctly recorded, the EPP/ECR resolution would have been rejected, enabling a move to vote on the Estrela Report. In addition, as reported by several MEPs and the recording of the plenary session, the simultaneous interpretation of the statement of, Edite Estrela calling to vote against the EPP/ECR resolution prior to the vote was misleading.

Sadly, according to the rules of procedures, the vote as confirmed during the plenary last Tuesday still stands in spite of this news.

Revised result of the vote confirmed EP support for SRHR

While only a few votes were recorded inaccurately, the fact that this would have been sufficient to change the outcome in favour of SRHR reveals the true depth and breadth of support for SRHR across many political groups in the European Parliament. This support was further evidenced during an unrelated plenary vote last week when MEPs adopted a resolution[1] on the EU’s external human rights policy with a comfortable majority. We are delighted to report that this adopted resolution clearly emphasises the importance of SRHR throughout.

This reveals a European Parliament with a progressive approach to sexual and reproductive rights and is in stark contrast to the ‘SRHR defeat’ certain socially conservative groups have mendaciously been claiming.

The above-mentioned organisations wish to take this opportunity to urge all EU Institutions to take note of the continuous support for SRHR in the European Parliament, evidenced both by the content of the resolution on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World and also by the fact that a range of technical errors prevented the EP to proceed with the vote on the Estrela Report.

  • • Center for Reproductive Rights
  • • DSW
  • • European Humanist Federation
  • • European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development
  • • EP Working Group on Reproductive Health
  • • European Women’s Lobby
  • • International Humanist and Ethical Union
  • • ILGA Europe
  • • IPPF European Network
  • • Marie Stopes International
  • • YSAFE

[1] European Parliament resolution of 11 December 2013 on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2012 and the European Union’s policy on the matter (2013/2152(INI))

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