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Parliament’s shameful suppression of women’s rights on World Human Rights Day

While today, 10 December, is supposedly World Human Rights Day, there was little respect shown for women's rights in the European Parliament as reactionary right-wing MEPs, supported by the anti-abortion campaigners they are in close cohorts with, rejected the Estrela report on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), instead voting in favour of an alternative resolution drafted by the right-wing EPP and ECR Groups.

GUE/NGL MEP Mikael Gustafsson, Chair of the FEMM Committee said: “I remain ashamed and stunned that so many people still can't see how important sexual and reproductive health and rights are to achieving gender equality in the EU and beyond. Following the despicable behaviour in the October vote, it is no surprise that we were treated to more of the same shouting and heckling in the chamber today.

“We will continue to defend a woman's right to safe and legal abortion and access to contraception. We won't back down on calling for comprehensive, non-discriminatory sexuality education for all as well as for urgent protection of the rights of LGBTI persons in Europe. The Estrela report contained all these objectives and it is a scandal that right-wing forces have succeeded in throwing it out.”

GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer said: “The European Parliament has failed to send a signal in defence of women's rights as human rights. Women and girls have a right to independently decide when and how many children they want to have. Comprehensive sex education contributes to the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and HIV prevention and urgent action is needed in the fight against discriminatory stereotypes and the discrimination of homosexual, trans and intersex people.

“Today was about more than just the fine-tuning of an own-initiative report. It was about what type of EU we want to have and on what basis we design policy. The rejection of the report is a shocking rejection of cooperation, the defence of individual human rights, anti-discrimination and solidarity within the EU.”

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20