EUROPE  – Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has adopted a resolution on access to abortion in Europe

The text was adopted unanimously by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 31 May 2022 (see Doc. 15459, report of the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination)

On 31 May 2022, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted an important resolution entitled: Access to abortion in Europe: stopping anti-choice harassment. The full text of the Resolution can be accessed here. The resolution was adopted unanimously, based on the report by Senator Margreet de Boer (Netherlands, SOC).

This Resolution represents a ground-breaking step in which a Europe-wide parliamentary body bringing together 46 European states expresess its concern about the harassment and violence perpetrated by anti-abortion activists towards those who ensure access to free and safe abortions. Those targeted include women’s rights defenders speaking out for the right to have an abortion, healthcare professionals, politicians, and those seeking abortions.

The Assembly underlined that the harassment and the violence is progressively eroding the right to abortion as stipulated in the legislation of most member States and may be considered as “part of a wider attack on women’s rights”.

In its resolution, PACE called on member States to ensure actual access to abortion, where provided for by national legislation, and to guarantee that any obstruction “is prohibited and criminally sanctioned”, stressing that conscientious objection should never restrict actual and timely access to abortion.  PACE also advocated the creation of “buffer zones” around healthcare facilitiess in which all anti-choice protests would be prohibited.

The Assembly also called on States to provide reliable information on abortion care, and to take measures to combat misinformation on abortion, in order to empower all women to make informed choices.

SOURCES: Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly ; E-mail: European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights, 8 June 2022