Catholic bishops decry EU push for abortion in charter

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“The right to life is the fundamental pillar of all other human rights, especially the right to life of the most vulnerable, fragile and defenseless…”

Arecent push by European lawmakers to include a right to abortion in the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights is receiving pushback from the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE). 

According to an April 11 report from Barron’s, the European Parliament passed a resolution to work towards installing abortion as a right, by a vote of 336 to 163, with support coming from centrist and left-wing groups. The resolution, however, is not binding and it is unlikely to be included in the EU’s legally binding charter, as it would require a unanimous vote from all 27 associate countries. Poland and Malta in particular, countries with strict abortion restrictions, would not support such a measure. 

As Vatican News reported,

“The vote today in the European Parliament in favour of this proposal for a resolution on the inclusion of abortion as a right in the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights obviously saddens us.”

This was the reaction of Fr. Manuel Barrios Prieto, the Secretary General of the Bishops of the European Union, known as COMECE, reflecting on the vote.

La Croix reports that the bishops of COMECE wrote to the EU two days before the vote, explaining that “abortion can never be a fundamental right.” The bishops leaned on the recently released Dignitas infinita, the declaration on human dignity from the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith: 

“The right to life is the fundamental pillar of all other human rights, especially the right to life of the most vulnerable, fragile and defenseless, like the unborn child in the womb of the mother, the migrant, the old, the person with disabilities and the sick,” says the statement, which was signed by the five bishops on the COMECE standing committee.

The letter went on to implore EU representatives to “respect the different cultures and traditions in the member states and their national competences.” The bishops also cautioned against the inclusion of “divisive” rights “that are not recognized by all,” within the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.

The move to include abortion as a fundamental right comes after France recently enshrined the right to abortion in its constitution on March 8. At the time, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to support such a push in the EU. The COMECE decried the attempt to impose ideological positions on the human person.

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