[Brussels, 8 April 2014] On the afternoon of Friday 4 April 2014, more than 50 national women’s rights organisations, members of the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) representing a total of more than 2000 organisations from all over Europe, were in Brussels to stand up together for the right of women to decide over their lives.
The fundamental right of women to abort is under threat in Europe.
- In Spain, the Council of Ministers has approved a bill that would result in dramatically restrict the right to abortion (except in case of declared rapes of when the woman’s health in at serious risk). It would only cover 8% of the current case of abortion.
- In Lithuania, the Parliament will apparently adopt a draft law, known as the “abortion ban bill”, at the end of this spring session. In that case, abortion will be a criminal act, punishable for up to 3 years imprisonment.
- Despite the law allowing abortion since 1978, it is getting particularly difficult to abort in Italy. In fact, according to the Italian minister of Justice, 7 gynecologists out of 10 are conscientious objectors and totally refuse to practice it.
- The last but not least attack against this right is called “One of Us”. It is a European Citizen’s initiative calling on the European Parliament and the European Commission to end funding human embryonic stem cells research and provision of maternal health in developing countries. Their long-term ambition is to impose a believes about the human embryo to the European Union and abroad.
At 3 pm, EWL members joyfully gathered in Place du Luxembourg, in front of the European Parliament in Brussels. Each one of them was holding a violet balloon, a banner saying “My body, my decisions” in all of the languages of the European Union.
Ms. Viviane Teitelbaum, President of the European Women’s Lobby, introduced the action by highlighting the strong backlash against women’s right that is rising over Europe, including concerning their right to decide over their lives.
Then, five members raised their voices to speak on behalf of five women in Europe that recently were denied they right to abortion, putting their lives and health at high risk.
- Savita Halappanavar (Ireland, 2010, died of an infection due to the refusal of the Irish hospital to abort her dead embryo.) “My life was in danger, but the law gave priority to a principle, over my right to live."
- Alicja Tysiac (Poland, 2000, lost her eyesight due the high risk the pregnancy constituted for her eye disease) “My health was at risk, but they denied my right to terminate the pregnancy.”
- Valentina (Italy, 2010, she aborted because she did not wanted her baby to have the same terrible disease that she suffers: one non-conscientious doctor gave her a pill to end the pregnancy, and she was then left without assistance despite the dramatic danger for her health) “They let me alone; I had to abort in the bathroom of the hospital.”
- Daniela (Spain, 2014, the doctors told her that the baby was condemned, but despite the alleging danger of infection, they refuse to practice the abortion) “They told me that the fetus was not viable, but they refused me the abortion.”
- Marie (France, where the rising lack of centers and practitioners increases the delays before having an abortion) “I am one of the 4000 to 5000 women who are obliged to go abroad to have an abortion.”
A delegation comprising the Executive Committee members of the EWL was then received by a representative from the cabinet of the President of the European Council, Mr. Von Rompuy, to talk about this burning matter. Find more information following this link.
At the same time, flyers and balloons were distributed to people in the street in front of the European Parliament, to raise awareness about this threat, and encourage them to vote for the next European Parliament’s elections.
You can act too!
- Read and share our manifesto.
- Send the EWL manifesto to the EP Candidates in your country and ask them to endorse it.
Vote in the European elections in May! Vote for change, vote for equality!