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European Women’s Lobby welcomes the second adoption of the report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights by the EP Women’s Rights Committee

[Brussels, 27 November 2013] This week, the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) has adopted an amended version of the non-binding resolution on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), drawn up by Edite Estrela(S&D, PT).

This is the second time that the FEMM Committee backs up this report. In October, the report was referred back to the FEMM Committee as a result of the plenary meeting. Split and separate votes were tabled in order to facilitate the second adoption of the report, which was adopted by a greater majority than the first vote. Despite several attempts to further delay the adoption of the Report, on the 26th of November FEMM Committee backed up the amended report 19 votes in favour and 15 against.

Mikael Gustafsson, Chair of the FEMM Committee said: "I am very happy that we, through decisions taken in a democratic and transparent way involving all the political groups, have adopted an amended report that should now be voted in plenary without further delay. I now hope that all groups will take their political responsibility and judge the report on its substance, and not try to further attack the report with false claims on procedural issues."

Although some of the issues defended by the European Women’s Lobby (EWL), such as access to assisted fertility treatment for single women and lesbians, a ban on forced sterilisation of transperson persons, and the mention of the situation of inequality and discrimination based on economic means arising in countries with no easy access to abortion, were voted out of the report, the report remains a strong message from the European Parliament in support of SRHR.

The report will now most probably be voted at the plenary session in Strasbourg in December. However, the EWL fears that some very conservative forces might try to interfere again to refuse to guarantee women’s rights in the EU. This is why the EWL hopes that the European Parliament will confirm its progressive position on sexual and reproductive health and rights. The EWL calls on all MEP to adopt the report at the December plenary session: in the 21st century, we won’t achieve equality between women and men if we are not committed to full sexual and reproductive health and rights for all women in Europe. The EWL hopes that the European Parliament sees fit to support real equality for all men and women in Europe. The attached document presents 5 key reasons why vote for the report.

Read the FEMM press release on the vote.

FEMM Committee: rapporteur Edite Estrela MEP: “I am very happy once again, for the support of the FEMM committee. We are dealing with very important matters; this resolution provides a very in-depth analysis of SRHR, including important aspects such as the need to provide comprehensive sexuality education for girls and boys, to protect pregnancy and childbirth by fighting maternal mortality as well as the need to protect contraception and safe abortion. The resolution also recognises that SRHR is not only a human rights issue; it is also a way to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment".

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