European & International News

MEPs launch a pledge in favor of sexual and reproductive health and rights

[Brussels, 13 February 2014] The European Parliament Working Group on Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS and Development (EPWG) has launched a pledge to ensure that the new Parliament is in favor of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

In collaboration with Brussels based NGOs, the Chair of the EPWG, MEP Sophie In’t Veld (ALDE, The Netherlands), developed a pledge to ask her fellow MEPs to confirm their support for SRHR in the next five years.

The pledge will be launched on 8th April, at an event in the European Parliament that will focus on the importance of the European Parliament’s support for SRHR in Europe and developing countries.

Next steps for advocates and NGOs

The pledge (already signed by five MEPs) can be found below:

  • MEPS are invited to sign it to express their support to SRHR;
  • NGOs are invited to share the pledge, in order to bring back the issue of SRHR on the European political agenda and mobiliser MEPs.

MEPs’ signatures need to be given to, by 8 April.


I hereby pledge to support Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the European Parliament’s next mandate, because

• Every person living in the EU should enjoy fully their fundamental rights, of which women’s rights are an integral part;

• SRHR are related to the European Union’s core values: a violation of sexual and reproductive rights breaches the right to women’s life, equality, non-discrimination, dignity, family life, health and freedom from inhumane and degrading treatment;

• Respect for SRHR is crucial to achieve gender equality: women can only be truly equal to men if they are given control over their fertility, body and health;

• SRHR has profound implications for economic growth. Access to SRHR enables people, and particularly women, to participate in social life, to access education and to participate in the formal labour market.

• SRHR plays an important role in delivering social equity: access to SRH services allow individuals to make informed choices about their future, including their health, education and finances, which is essential to decreasing (intergenerational transmission of) poverty and ensure human dignity.

• SRHR are a pre-condition for poverty eradication and a decent life for all and should therefore be prioritised in EUs development policy

• Several of the world’s sustainability problems, including those related to the consumption of the world’s non-renewable resources, are related to high fertility which is often not desired by women and couples, but result from limited access to SRH services


• Sophie In’t Veld, Alde, The Netherlands


The European parliament can ensure a clear political signal in favour of SRHR policy within Member States and can furthermore ensure that EU development policy in supportive for SRHR.

The Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) – signed by all EU Member States defines SRHR as:
"a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes". Reproductive health therefore implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. Implicit in this last condition are the right of men and women to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, as well as other methods of their choice for regulation of fertility which are not against the law, and the right of access to appropriate health-care services that will enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant (para 72).

About the EPWG

The European Parliament Working Group on Reproductive Health HIV/AIDS and Development (EPWG) was the first all-party group in the European Parliament and represents a cross-section of the EU Member States and the Parliament’s political groups. The EPWG advocates for a progressive approach to SRHR, HIV/AIDS and gender equality to be integrated across the EU member states and foreign policy. The group is chaired by Sophie in ’t Veld (Dutch MEP, ALDE) and the secretariat is hosted by Marie Stopes International Europe Office. For more information please contact EPWG co-ordinator Peter Schaffler on

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