Care alarmed over European pro-abortion resolution

Pro-Life parliamentarians and the Christian Charity CARE have expressed great concern at the passing of a resolution by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which states that women have a right to access safe and legal abortion.

The 'Legal Abortion in Europe' resolution was passed by the Assembly in Strasbourg on Wednesday by 102 votes to 69 with 14 abstentions.

The resolution also calls on all member states to decriminalise abortion 'within reasonable gestational limits'.

Speaking after the vote Nigel Dodds MP, member of the Parliamentary Assembly, said, "This is a very sad day for Europe's unborn children, but the fight goes on."

Hannah Macsween of CARE for Europe in Strasbourg said. "It is of huge concern that the Parliamentary Assembly is seeking to pressure states to decriminalise abortion.

Ms Macsween said it was "shocking" that the Assembly passed the resolution without considering substantial evidence of a link between abortion and subsequent health problems for women, including psychological trauma and pre-term births in later pregnancies.

"Talking about a 'woman's right to choose' to have an abortion becomes a logical nonsense if it is not complemented with a commitment to a 'woman's right to know' about all the implications of having an abortion."

Jim Dobbin MP, Chair of the All Party Pro Life Group in Westminster said, "The resistance of intelligent people to the truth, even when it involves gross irresponsibility in relation to a woman's right to know, is frightening.

"I hope that this development will serve as a wake up call to the people of Britain, underlining the importance of working very much harder at getting the truth about abortion out in the public square ahead of the debate in the House of Commons on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill between May and July.

"We are on the edge of the greatest pro-life battle for 40 years and we need to be ready."

Nola Leach, Chief Executive of CARE, added that all people had a responsibility to become more informed on the key abortion arguments in order to speak out actively against any liberalisation on the issue.

"Britain is acting grossly irresponsibly in relation to both unborn children and their mothers. We all now have a responsibility to engage," she said.

David Fieldsend, Manager of CARE for Europe, said that three amendments had succeeded in making the final resolution "slightly less bad", including one which stated that abortion should take place 'within reasonable gestational limits'.

He said this was particularly useful in the UK where abortion on the basis of disability can take place right up to birth.

The two other amendments affirmed the importance of encouraging young people to delay sexual activity, and acknowledged that counselling would challenge the pressure that some women feel to have an abortion.

The Council of Europe resolution cannot compel member states to change their laws but it could have some influence. The resolution will have to be endorsed by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers before it has full effect.