Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe

The resolution adopted by the European Parliament replacing the proposal of the Estrela Report

On 10 December 2013 the European Parliament adopted a resolution on "Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights". This text is the alternative resolution that substitutes the proposal of the portugese MEPEdite EStrela. The resolution was adopted by 334 votes in favour, 327 against and 35 absentions.

In the resolution the European Parliament defines the exclusive competence of the Member States in this area, as was also underlined in the press release of the European Parliament following the vote: "MEPs say sexual and reproductive health and rights are matter for member states".

Read more: The resolution adopted by the European Parliament replacing the proposal of the Estrela Report

The Estrela Report is back on the table - European parents expect the EP to act democratically

On 22 October a European Parliament report on “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” (SRHR) was referred back to the Committee on Womens’ Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM). It is indeed an exception for an initiative report, i.e. a report initiated by the Parliament itself, to be referred back to the competent committee as was the case with the report presented by Portuguese MEP Edite Estrela. Exceptional was also the number of amendments tabled for this report in the plenary vote. These facts point to the clear divide on the contents of the report within the EP, and the extremely vivid debate at the moment of the vote on 22nd October also illustrated that the issue of "SRHR", that is subject to subsidiarity, is an explicit overstepping of the mandate of the EU in this case represented by the democratically elected MEP.

Read more: The Estrela Report is back on the table - European parents expect the EP to act democratically

"Early Childhood Masturbation" for 0-4 years old as part of sexual education supported by the European Parliament?

Today the European Parliament will vote a motion for a resolution on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. Regarding Sexual Education, it refers to the report of the World Health Organisation Regional Office for Europe and the German Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) entitled ‘Standards for Sexuality Education in Europe: A framework for policy makers, educational and health authorities and specialists’ , published in 2010.  This is the sole reference included in the motion for a resolution. FAFCE considers this approach unworthy of all children in the EU, as well as deeply disrespectful of their parents who are the first and primary educators of their children. The motion for a resolution nevertheless only refers to the parents as "other stakeholders".

Read more: "Early Childhood Masturbation" for 0-4 years old as part of sexual education supported by the...

"Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights" - a proposal from the European Parliament unworthy of the EU

On Monday 21 October a Motion for a European Parliament Resolution on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights will be debated at the Plenary session in Strasbourg. The report presented by the portugese MEP Mrs Edite Estrela addresses many important issues such as maternal health and childhood care, the impact of pornography on youth, the sexualisation of young girls, and surrogacy motherhood. 

However, the motion for a resolution does not provide adequate responses to most of these issues. It also advocates in favour of issues that do not lie within the competency of the EU. FAFCE considers that the text is unworthy of the EU and its' citizens, this is why.

The motion for a resolution on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights outlines problems related to the health of women and mothers in Europe and beyond. All EU citizens are entitled to health care, protection and support. However, none of these issues find an appropriate reply in the text presented by Mrs Estrela.

Maternal and childhood care are only addressed with the concept of Sexual and Reproductive Rights, a concept commonly interpreted as including access to abortion. Abortion is moreover promoted by this text (para. 34) while as it is neither an EU competency, nor a topic on which there is a consensus among the Member States (recital. U). Only this week did 2 Member States express their position at the United Nations on the non-inclusion of abortion in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, namely Malta and Poland. Two countries that together with Ireland are specifically targeted by the report. The text also seeks to promote abortion through EU development aid (para. 80 and 87).

However, International law protects the right to life, of each and every person. So does the EU legislation that even goes to the extent of defining the existence of the human embryo from the moment of conception. A fact supported by over 1.3 million EU citizens who signed the European Citizens Initiative One of Us.

Relationship and Sexual education is necessary to prepare young Europeans for fulfilling and responsible relationships. Nevertheless, there is no EU competency in this matter and the first and primary educators, namely the parents, are only considered as “other stakeholders” by this text (para. 43). Such an approach is disrespectful as regards both the parents and their children. Along the same lines, the text calls for access for minors to contraceptives and abortion, without parental consent (para. 46). This is a repeated denial of the first and primary role parents play as educators.

The text aims at regulating the right to conscientious objection (para. 35) albeit freedom of conscience is a fundamental right and conscientious objection is recognised by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: “The right to conscientious objection is recognised, in accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of this right.” (art. 10.2).

The right of children to know and be raised by both their mother and father is also threatened by this text that seeks to promote access to fertility treatments and medically assisted reproduction techniques for single and lesbian women (para 8).

With regard to the above, this report is inconsistent with the EU and national legislations; it expresses disrespect for the founding principle of subsidiarity as well as the fundamental right to freedom of conscience.

Above all, the report does not respect the inherent right to life of every person, whether an EU citizen or not. Such an attitude is not worthy of the EU. It is not worthy of the democratically elected representatives of the European people to promote such a text. It is not worthy of all those who are fathers and mothers, grandparents, uncles and aunts to limit themselves to such an approach regarding their children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces. Something better should be offered to Europe’s young and future generations.

With regard to the above, the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe, an NGO with a participatory status at the Council of Europe, representing family associations from 15 Member States calls on the Members of the European Parliament to offer a better alternative to the European families and vote against this resolution!

For more detailed information you can download our arguments below: "12 reasons to vote against the text, followed by question marks on what the EU could do to improve the situation of children, mother and fathers in Europe and beyond"


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