After a months-long intense debate about the ‘Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights’ (also called the Estrela report), a symbolic fight has been won today for democracy, for children, and for life. A majority of the European Parliament have just adopted the alternative resolution tabled by the EPP group and joined by the ECR group, and thus rejected the highly controversial report (with 334 votes in favour, 327 against and 35 abstentions). This is a historic setback for the abortion lobby and all their related stakeholders, as they have well-oiled machineries, huge EU-funded budgets and, therefore, great power of impact in political agenda setting.
Usually, such a non-binding report (that is precisely done for symbolic reasons and to create justifications for new laws and funding) would have passed plenary right away and without much attention, despite its radical content that disrespects the principle of subsidiarity, promotes a “right to abortion” against EU law, infringes the rights of parents and the freedom of conscience of doctors. Since all this comes in the guise of “women’s health”, who can be against it?
This time, however, things went differently: citizens in Europe are no longer willing to be dictated an agenda that goes against their profound convictions: parents who don’t accept to be pushed away as the primary educators of their children and who want to give their children love and education, not aggressive and inappropriate sex education and contraception; citizens who want the European Parliament to respect democracy and the boundaries of EU law; doctors and nurses who do not want to be forced to perform abortions.
They made their voice heard – loudly; according to a communication of the European Humanist Federation on the 3rd of December, MEPs had received 80.000 emails of protect against the report by concerned citizens. Since a strong, European-wide mobilisation was maintained until the vote today, it is likely that the number of emails exceeded 100.000.
The debate went viral on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. The ad hoc mobilization group “Estrela No – Respect Subsidiarity” got over 4.300 fans on Facebook in just 72 hours and all MEPs were contacted by this massive mobilization before the vote.
About 200 citizens and young families from different countries even came yesterday for the second time to Strasbourg , to protest with “Estrela No” posters in front of the Parliament as MEPs were arriving for plenary week.
On the other hand, there are the promoters of the report. Brussels-based lobby groups without much public support, as it seems, but with abundant EU-funding. They hastened to rebut the many solid arguments against the report by repeating the same slogans over and over again: If you are against a report that calls for a “right to abortion” you are against women’s health. If you are against the report, you belong to a radical, fundamentalist religious minority (where were the thousands of emails to MEPs in support for the report?). If you tell the public what’s actually written in the report, you are a liar. If you are against the report, you are anything, but a citizen that participates in democracy. Reality shows a very different picture: massive popular protest against well-funded pro-abortion lobby groups who focus on one thing first: to produce official documents, (such as non-binding reports), to justify their comfortable and generous EU-funding.
According to Edite Estrela herself (on her Facebook page on the 9th of December), the report is promoted by lobby groups such as the European Womens' Lobby, Amnesty International, Women's Platform, ILGA Europe, Catholics for Choice, International Planned Parenthood Federation, European Humanist Federation, European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development. At a meeting earlier this year, the Director of IPPF European Network, Vicky Claeys, even admitted in a public meeting in the European Parliament that she has been helping with the drafting of the report.
This day is a turning point, indeed. The (highly questionable) EU-funding for the world’s largest commercial abortion providers IPPF, Marie Stopes International and others will not stop from one day to another. Nor will these lobbies give up and cease to push with everything they can to promote themselves and their agendas. But this time, their scheme backfired. The Estrelas of the European Parliament, who exist thanks to the forementioned lobby groups, have shown their true face and have revealed with striking clarity that they do not represent anybody except themselves.
The absolute inability (or unwillingness) to answer even one argument that has been brought forward by opponents of the report tells more about their aims than anything else: mandatory aggressive sex education for children from primary school onwards, while disempowering parents and demoting them to “other stakeholders”; abortions when what women want and need is health care and support; curtailment of freedom of conscience to eradicate any obstacle to an abortion culture. And, last but not least, a flagrant disregard for EU law and the principle of subsidiarity; which is indeed very inconvenient for their agenda.
European citizens and MEPs have made an important step forward to stand for a Europe that respects dignity, life and the constitution of Europe. The occasion for this debate presented itself in the form of the Estrela report and citizens have made use of it.