Newstalk
Newstalk

15.36 22 Oct 2013


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MEPs have rejected plans to declare abortion as a human right. Politicians in Strasbourg have rejected a report which asked governments to make sure financial difficulties are not a barrier if a woman wants to terminate her pregnancy.

The report also called for abortion services to be made 'legal, safe, and accessible to all' in the public health systems of every European Union (EU) member state.

However a narrow majority of MEPs voted against the proposal, while eight of the 12 Irish MEPs opposed it.

The Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality published the report last month on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. It had included a section which sought to have "access to safe and legal abortion in Europe".

It found that there is a disparity in the standard of sexual and reproductive health between and within member states, as well as inequality of rights enjoyed by women in Europe - including in terms of access to contraception and abortion, depending on the country of residence, income, age, and migration status.

It mentioned Ireland in particular as an example of where abortion is banned, except in very narrow circumstances (along with Malta and Poland).

But it noted that in several states where abortion is legal, it is increasingly difficult to access because of regulatory or practical barriers - such as the abuse of conscientious objection, mandatory waiting periods and biased counselling.

It had called on member states to refrain from stopping pregnant women seeking abortion to travel to other states or jurisdictions where it is legal.

Commenting on the decision today, Irish Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy said "It is clear some Irish MEPs have learnt nothing from the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, with 7 of the 12 MEPs from the Republic of Ireland, including all the Fianna Fail MEPs and three of the four Fine Gael MEPs, voting to send this report back to the committee".


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