Pro-life group criticizes Macron’s call to add abortion to rights charter

Courtney Mares   By Courtney Mares for CNA


French President Emmanuel Macron. / Frederic Legrand – COMEO/Shutterstock.

Rome Newsroom, Jan 20, 2022 / 07:05 am (CNA).

A pro-life group in France has denounced President Emmanuel Macron’s call to add abortion to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

“Advocating for the inclusion of a ‘right to abortion’ in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union ignores the violence that abortion often inflicts on many women,” Alliance VITA said in a statement on Jan. 19.

“In France, a study found that less affluent women have more abortions than wealthier women. Abortion is a marker of social inequality.”

Alliance VITA is an association in France that provides support for women facing difficult or unplanned pregnancies and advocates for the protection of human life in public policy.

Caroline Roux, the deputy executive director of Alliance VITA, said that it is “necessary more than ever that a real assessment of the causes, conditions, and consequences of abortion be carried out at national and European level.”

“This would be a real step forward that the French Presidency should offer to protect women,” she said.

France took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time in 14 years on Jan. 1. The Community of Sant’Egidio, a Catholic group, has proposed a collaboration with Macron to promote the abolition of the death penalty worldwide during the French EU presidency.

Macron called on Jan. 19 for the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights to be revised “to be more explicit on environmental protection or the recognition of the right to abortion,” in a speech to members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France.

In the address, he noted that the charter has “enshrined the abolition of the death penalty throughout the Union.”

Roux said that the French president’s comments about the “abolition of the death penalty” and the “recognition of the right to abortion” side by side show that “Emmanuel Macron’s intention is out of step.”

“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,” she said.

“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.”

The EU charter recognizes the right to life but does not mention abortion. It states that “Everyone has the right to life” and “No one shall be condemned to the death penalty, or executed.”

Macron’s speech came on the same day that the French Senate again rejected a bill to extend abortion on demand beyond 12 weeks, the current legal limit on abortions in France.

Under current French law, abortions in the second and third trimesters are permitted only if two physicians certify that it is necessary to save the life of the mother, to prevent grave and permanent harm to her health, or the child has a severe and incurable illness.

The French Senate voted 202 to 138 to reject the bill for a legal extension of abortion from 12 weeks to 14 weeks on Jan. 19, according to Le Figaro.

In response to the vote, Brigitte Bourguignon, the French Minister of Autonomy, said that the government “fiercely defends” a right to abortion, adding that “the President of the Republic reaffirmed this commitment forcefully this very morning.”

“The declaration of the President of the Republic shows an incoherent position, disconnected from the reality experienced by women,” Alliance VITA said.

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