Chris Lieberman, FISM News
French President Emmanuel Macron has called on members of the European Union to enshrine the right to an abortion into the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.
“Twenty years after the proclamation of our Charter of Fundamental Rights, which notably enshrined the abolition of the death penalty throughout the Union, I hope that we can update this charter, notably to be more explicit on environmental protection or the recognition of the right to abortion,” said Macron before members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France on Wednesday. “Let us open this debate freely with our fellow citizens of great European conscience to give new life to our set of rights that forges this Europe strong in its values, the only future of our common political project.”
The charter, ratified by the EU in 2000, does not currently mention abortion. In fact, the first right enumerated in the document states that, “Everyone has the right to life,” which is followed by, “No one shall be condemned to the death penalty, or executed.” Rights listed in the charter are legally binding on all EU nations.
Currently, most of the EU’s 27 member states allow access to abortion on demand or on broad social grounds. Only Malta and Poland have strict pro-life laws in place.
Macron’s statement came the day after the European Parliament elected Maltese politician Roberta Metsola, who is pro-life, as its new president. Metsola has been a member of the European Parliament since 2013 and has voted against a number of pro-abortion resolutions. However, after her election, Metsola told Euronews that, “The position of the parliament [on abortion] is unambiguous and unequivocal, and that is also my position. That is exactly what I will do throughout my mandate as president on this issue.”
In June 2021, the European Parliament voted to adopt the Matić Report, which defines abortion as, “essential healthcare” and conscientious objection to performing abortion as, “denial of medical care.” The report also states that violations of “sexual and reproductive health and rights” are “a form of violence against women and girls.”
While many in Europe supported Macron’s comments, he also received backlash from those fighting for the rights of the unborn. Éric Zemmour, who is running for president in France’s upcoming election, accused Macron of trying to “impose the values of Western progressivism” on countries like Poland and Hungary. Jordan Bardella, a member of the European Parliament from the French political party National Rally, said of Macron, “Your political project aims to erase the nations of Europe, ours to save them.”
French pro-life group Alliance VITA also condemned Macron’s message. “Addressing the painful issue of abortion head-on, without prior debate, and without mentioning any policies of prevention and support, is to do violence to the many women who want society to help them avoid abortion, which is often carried out under pressure,” said Caroline Roux, Alliance VITA’s deputy executive director, in a statement. “The abolition of the death penalty, recalled by the president in his speech, as well as the right to life are among the values inscribed in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.”
Macron is expected to run for re-election as French president in April.