The Estrela Report: promoting compulsory sex education for toddlers and a right to abortion, and calling for restrictions on conscientious objection

November 23, 2013

The scandalous Estrela Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights is back on the agenda! After heated debate, it was referred back to the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) by the october plenary session of the European Parliament. The report will be discussed in the second round in the FEMM Committee tomorrow, 26th of November. The Committee will vote on the report again, a necessary step for it to get in back to the plenary.

The proponents of this radical anti-freedom and anti-life report are very nervous: No debate will be allowed, no new amendments will be allowed to be tabled and the existing tabled alternative resolution, which was a good, non-ideological text, is completely banned from the agenda.

This means that the content of the report will be changed in cosmetic details at best, which means that MEPs will be asked to vote on the same toxic report which they referred back to the committee, because it was not acceptable to the majority of the house.

The legislative process of the European Parliament is clear: In case of a referral back to committee, a report or proposal must be fundamentally reconsidered. But with the Estrela Report, its proponents are busy trying to basically get the same report through again at an accelerated pace. It goes without saying that the need for further debate-and serious consideration whether this report should be taken off the agenda altogether-was exactly the reason why the European Parliament decided to refer it back to the FEMM Committee in the first place!

The number of amendments and “split votes” tabled for this report prior to the last plenary session was unusually high – an indicator that European Parliament is deeply divided over this controversial proposal. Nevertheless, the MEPs who proposed it still hope to find a way to advance their ultra feminist agenda of compulsory sex and gender education starting with toddlers onwards, free abortion on demand, and serious restrictions on doctor’s right to conscientious objection.

On the other hand, thanks to a massive reaction by citizens across Europe, more and more MEPs are aware that they need to demand that the boundaries of EU competence be respected—which does not allow for the promotion of abortion and stands for the dignity of women, the right to life and for the protection of fundamental freedoms for all.

As a result of the efforts of human rights organizations to raise public awareness in Europe of the many problems contained in the Estrela Report, MEPs received thousands of emails before the last plenary session. But there are still reasons to be concerned and the battle is not yet over.

What’s problematic in the Estrela Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights?

  • The Estrela Report calls for a so-called “right to abortion”. But the EU has no competence to promote abortion. Hence, such a call is against EU law. Furthermore, it is incompatible with the fundamental right to life of every human being.
  • The Report calls for restrictions on the right to conscientious objection, which it considers an obstacle to establish a so-called “right to abortion” (Paragraph 35 of the Report). But conscientious objection is an internationally recognized right. Everyone has the fundamental freedom to not participate in a practice that is contrary to one’s conscience, within the boundaries prescribed by law.
  • The Report calls on Member States to ensure compulsory, “age-appropriate” and “gender-sensitive” sexuality and relationship education, provided in a mixed-sex setting, for all children and adolescents (both in and out of school).
  • The Report calls for compulsory sexual education according to the Standards for Sexuality Education in Europe published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the German BzgA. These ‘Standards’ include the following age-based requirements:
  1. Children aged 0-4 should be informed about: “enjoyment and pleasure when touching one’s own body”, “early childhood masturbation”, “different family relationships”, “the right to explore gender identities”, “the right to explore nakedness and the body, to be curious”, etc. They should also develop “curiosity regarding own and others’ bodies” and “a positive attitude towards different lifestyles”.
  2. Children aged 4-6 should be informed about “enjoyment and pleasure when touching one’s own body”, “early childhood masturbation”, “same-sex relationships”, “sexual feelings (closeness, enjoyment, excitement) as a part of all human feelings”, “different kinds of (family) relationship”, “different concepts of a family” and should develop “respect” for those different lifestyles and concepts.
  3. Children aged 6-9 should go on learning about “enjoyment and pleasure when touching one’s own body (masturbation/self-stimulation)” but they also should be informed about “different methods of conception” and “the basic idea of contraception (it is possible to plan and decide about your family).”
  4. Children aged 9-12 should be informed about “first sexual experience”, “orgasm”, “masturbation” and should learn to “make a conscious decision to have sexual experiences or not” and “use condoms and contraceptives effectively”.

Although these standards differentiate between “minimum” and “optimal achievements, masturbation at age 0-4 is mandatory. In short, this is a programme for sexual initiation beginning at the toddler age. And one seriously has to ask oneself whether this kind of sexual education is not in fact a form of paedophilia that could lead to child abuse, albeit under a pretext of “education” or “skill development”.