Friday, October 30, 2009

Womens' council opposes abortion amendment

The National Council of Women in Ireland (NCWI) strongly lobbied against a European Parliament proposal that would have seen spending on coercive abortion and sex-selective abortion banned, The Irish Catholic has learned.

There were 316 votes against an amendment to the draft EU budget, which would have explicitly prevented projects funded by the EU engaging in the practises, with 305 MEPs voting for the amendment.

The amendments were opposed by the National Council of Women in Ireland (NCWI).

In a letter to its members, the NCWI makes clear its support for a lobby campaign by the European Women's Lobby (EWL) which opposes these amendments on the grounds that they are part of a 'wider agenda'.


The NCWI also lobbied Irish MEPs to oppose the ban on coercive and sex-selective abortion.

Both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael MEPs voted for the amendments, as did Independent MEP Marian Harkin. The three Labour MEPs, Nessa Childers, Prionsias De Rossa and Alan Kelly, and Socialist MEP Joe Higgins, voted against the amendments.

The NCWI argued that the amendments would mean that ''independent agencies which promote a rights-based approach to sexual and reproductive health in countries where there is an authoritarian regime may be held responsible, by association, of the human rights abuses of that regime in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights''.

Groups such as International Planned Parenthood Federation have been involved in giving assistance to the communist government of China in their coercive population control programme.


The EWL also opposes the amendment which refers to gender-based eugenic discrimination, on the basis that ''it seeks to lay a basis for considering that a foetus has rights from the 'moment of conception' and, therefore, undermine national provisions which regulate access to termination of pregnancy as well to emergency contraception''.

The EWL also argues that the phrase ''at any point after conception'' used in the amendment ''is a phrase used by some extremist, religiously-inspired groups and individuals who oppose access to legal abortion''.

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