The European Union’s (EU) parliament on Thursday overwhelmingly condemned the end of constitutional protections for abortion in the United States and called for such safeguards to be enshrined in the EU’s fundamental rights charter.
In a 324-155 vote with 38 abstentions, European Parliament lawmakers adopted a resolution that crystalized the anger seen in many of the EU’s 27 member countries since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling on June 24.
“It teaches us a lesson: Women’s and girls’ human rights can never be taken for granted, and we must always fight to defend them,” Swedish politician Helene Fritzon, who is vice president of a parliamentary alliance of Socialists and Democrats, said.
Underscoring fears that anti-abortion movements might expand in Europe, some legislators said they wanted to see EU-wide protections adopted.
“The United States has clearly shown why we must use every tool available to safeguard abortion rights in the European Union,” said Stéphane Séjourné the president of the liberal Renew Europe group in the EU Parliament.
The resolution calls on member nations to add a sentence reading “Everyone has a right to safe and legal abortion” to the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
In France, where abortion has been legal for almost half a century, there are now moves afoot to enshrine that in the nation’s constitution and make sure it could not fall victim to momentary changes in politics.
National laws determine the status of abortion in individual EU countries and are legal and practised without much political opposition in many member nations, but are banned in Malta and increasingly restricted in Poland.
The EU Parliament resolution mentioned a recent case in Malta involving an American tourist who had an incomplete miscarriage and could not get the fetal tissue removed even if her life was in danger. A human rights activist in Poland was charged for providing an abortion pill, according to the resolution.
The Supreme Court’s overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision has emboldened abortion opponents around the world. The EU resolution expressed concern “about a possible surge in the flow of money funding anti-gender and anti-choice groups in the world, including in Europe.”
Despite the support for the resolution, it is not expected to have an immediate impact on abortion legislation in the bloc.