Despite the clear defeat of the Estrela Report in December after a groundswell of public opposition, the so-called “Estrela Agenda” — which calls for abortion on demand, compulsory sex education at the primary and secondary school levels, and restrictions on freedom of conscience — is being pushed forward once again in the European Parliament.
The latest effort to bring back this radical agenda — which citizens from across Europe have expressed clear opposition to — is being spearheaded by the Socialist and Democrats Group (S&D) in the European Parliament. The S&D group, of which Mrs. Estrela is also a member, want to bring a statement from the European Commission on “non-discrimination in the framework of sexual and reproductive health and rights” to plenary on January 16. Such a statement can eventually lead to a resolution on SRHR again.
By requesting the use of a procedure allowed under the Parliament’s Rule 110 regarding “Statements by the Commission, Council and European Council”, supporters of the original Estrela Report now seek to push the same content forward under a different guise. That rule states that “Members of the Commission, the Council and the European Council may at any time ask the President of Parliament for permission to make a statement” — and further says that “[w]hen placing a statement with debate on its agenda, Parliament shall decide whether or not to wind up the debate with a resolution”.
Although reason prevailed at the recent vote on sexual and reproductive health (Estrela Report) at the European Parliament, the next attempt of lobby-driven politics is already on the agenda. With the “Lunacek Report”, special rights and privileges are being claimed for some — against equality and the same human rights for all.
The attempt to advance special privileges for some at the cost of equality for all comes — again — in the form of an “Own Initiative Report”, a non-binding text voted in Parliament on areas that often fall outside the EU‘s competence.
The “Report on the EU Roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity” was presented on November 5 in the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and was adopted in committee this week (on December 17) with 40 MEPs in favour, 2 against, and 6 abstentions. MEP Ulrike Lunacek from the Green party in Austria — and who also serves as the Co-President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights — is the Rapporteur for this report. (Mrs. Lunacek was also one of the most outspoken promoters of the Estrela Report.)
The interests of a small but powerful lobby vs. equality for all
The Report asserts that LGBTI persons should have the same human rights as everyone else. This is an assertion that can be fully supported. The very purpose of human rights as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention and other international human rights documents is to grant a minimum level of protection of the integrity of every person because everyone has equal worth and dignity.
However, while the universal application and validity of human rights for all — regardless of personal preferences, age, or any other property — needs to be defended in the EU, the Lunacek Report turns this fundamental equality upside down by claiming that specific LGBTI rights should now be considered human rights. This turns the universal validity of human rights into its exact opposite.
This would mean that one particular group in society, which wants to push for their own particular interest, should be able to declare new human rights as they please. Such an arbitrary extension of human rights (often superficially equated with more justice) will not lead to more human rights but rather to the decay of the very concept of human rights.
To claim that LGBTI rights are human rights is as meaningful as saying “sport rights are human rights” or “classical music lover’s rights are human rights”. Human rights are not there to protect the specific interests of a particular group but to protect the innate dignity of every human person. The Lunacek report is thus profoundly against equality and advocates for more special privileges for persons who do not suffer in any way from a denial of their human rights.
Problem points in the Report
Estrela report rejected: Massive popular protest wins over well-funded lobby groups at the European Parliament10. Dezember 2013
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.
Condom and dummy in MEP’s letterbox: „Children need love and education – not sex and contraception!“10. Dezember 2013
Yesterday, the ad hoc mobilization group „Estrela No – Respect Subsidiarity“, which got over 4000 likes on Facebook in just 72 hours, staged a spectacular action at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The scoop made it into the largest German newspaper Bild.de and is circulating in news reports all over Europe today.
MEPs calmly arrived in Strasbourg for the December plenary session, opened their letter box as usual – and found a strange lumpy envelope. In it, a light blue dummy, a condom and a short letter. The campaign was yet another manifestation of the great displeasure of thousands of citizens about the controversial Estrela Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights that will be voted today at 12:45.
The content of the report promotes radical claims, such as a “right to abortion”, the retrenchment of parental rights, and serious limitations on freedom of conscience; such that it citizens and family organisations all over Europe have protested vehemently for weeks now. Undemocratic proceedings, such as not allowing for new amendments after the referral back to the Women’s committee in the October plenary, only aggravated the scandal. According to the European Humanist Federation, MEPs have received about 80.000 emails of protest by citizens until December 3. Numbers have certainly gone up steeply, as the mobilization gets larger every day.
The letter that came with the condom and the dummy expressed the message that has been massively echoed in multiple forms by citizens on social media:
The Estrela report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights has caused great controversy, inside and outside Parliament. In October the majority of the house has democratically voted for a referral back to committee. The purpose of such a referral was to re-consider the text of the report and find a consensus among the political groups.
However, the Chair of the FEMM committee did not allow for the tabling of new amendments – against the opinion of the legal service.
The report is back for vote tomorrow at 12:45, although it has only been changed in some minor details.
The report remains highly problematic, because it
- infringes the fundamental principle of subsidiarity, because it aims at an EU-intervention where there is no competence for it;
- curtails freedom of conscience for medical doctors and nurses not to assist unethical procedures contrary to their conscience;
- promotes a “right to abortion” and a serious limitation of parental rights (parents are reduced to “other stakeholders”) with regards to the sexual education of their children;
- promotes compulsory aggressive and inappropriate sexual education from primary school onwards.
There are no individual amendments to the text, because the amended text adopted by the FEMM committee was not published until AFTER the deadline for new amendments.
Two alternative resolutions have been tabled (Amendment 1 & 2). Both are acceptable texts.
Therefore, we call on you to vote for AM 1 & 2. If both are rejected, we urge you to vote against the report.
Please vote in favour of our children, our families, our democratic Europe – and reject the Estrela report.
European Dignity Watch