COMECE speaks out against proposal to include “right” to abortion in European law
By Benedict Mayaki, SJ
European Bishops have expressed their deep concern and opposition to French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to insert a supposed right to abortion in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
In his speech to the European Parliament on 19 January, Macron proposed to update the European Charter to include the recognition of a supposed "right" to abortion in the context of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
In a Tuesday statement, the members of the COMECE presidency acknowledge the tragedy and complexity of the situations in which mothers considering abortion find themselves.
However, the EU Bishops highlight the need to provide assistance to women in distress and their unborn child, stressing that “caring for women who are in a difficult or a conflict situation because of their pregnancy is a central part of the diaconal ministry of the Church and must also be a duty exercised by our societies.”
No recognized right to abortion
COMECE notes that from a legal perspective, there is no right to abortion in European or international law.
Thus, attempting to change this by introducing a supposed right to abortion, the Bishops insist, “not only goes against fundamental European beliefs and values, but would be an unjust law, devoid of an ethical foundation and destined to be a cause of perpetual conflict among the citizens of the EU.”
The EU bishops caution against ideological impositions, saying that European integration should always foster and promote respect for different identities. In this sense, the proposal of the French president of inserting this supposed right cannot be seen as “breathing new life into our basic rights.”
European values promote respect for the dignity of all
The Bishops go on to express their agreement with Macron on the importance of defending and promoting the values of the EU, noting that since the beginning, the European integration process has been supported and closely accompanied by the Church.
They, however, point out that one of the main values is respect for the dignity of every human person, in every stage of his or her life, especially in situations of complete vulnerability, as is the case of unborn children.
It is based on this humanistic tradition, COMECE notes, that the founding fathers of the EU were conscious of the fundamental importance of the inalienable dignity of the human person as well as of community as common ground for the Union.