Abortion rights protest

The Abortion Rights Campaign protests at the U.S. Embassy on May 3, 2022 in London, England after a leaked draft decision from the U.S. Supreme Court showed that a majority of justices were planning to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Photo: Guy Smallman/Getty Images)

EU Parliament Condemns Overturning of Roe, Calls to Double Down on Abortion Rights

"Women's and girls' human rights can never be taken for granted, and we must always fight to defend them."

Fearing the spread of anti-choice sentiment and policies across Europe after the U.S. Supreme Court's gutting of abortion rights, the European Union Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Thursday in favor of a resolution condemning the decision and protecting the right to abortion care across the bloc.

The body voted 324-155 in favor of the resolution, which includes a call for the addition of the statement, "Everyone has a right to safe and legal abortion" to the E.U.'s Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Members of European Parliament (MEPs) "express their solidarity with and support for women and girls in the U.S., as well as to those involved in both providing and advocating for the right and access to legal and safe abortion care in such challenging circumstances," said the policymakers in a press statement. "Given this, they call for the U.S. Congress to pass a bill that would protect abortion at federal level."

Advocates in the U.S. have long called for abortion rights to be codified into federal law via the passage of the Women's Health Protection Act, but right-wing lawmakers have obstructed the legislation.

The attack on reproductive freedom in the U.S.--where abortion is now banned in at least nine states, with more expected to follow, after the Supreme Court's June 24 ruling which overturned Roe v. Wade--"teaches us a lesson," said MEP Helene Fritzon, a Swedish politician.

"The conservative counter-revolution against abortion rights is here in Europe."

"Women's and girls' human rights can never be taken for granted, and we must always fight to defend them," Fritzon said.

Abortion care is legal throughout most of the European Union, but is banned in Malta and has been prohibited in nearly all cases in Poland since 2020.

The Polish government drew condemnation from rights advocates last month when it introduced a new database to track people's pregnancies, and at least one activist has been charged in the country for sending a woman pills needed for a medication abortion. She faces up to three years in prison if she is found guilty.

The E.U. on Thursday urged "member states to decriminalise abortion, and to remove and combat the remaining legal, financial, social and practical restrictions still hampering access in some member states."

Member countries also expressed concern "about a possible surge in funding for anti-gender and anti-choice groups in the world, including in Europe" amid the rollback of rights in the United States.

Although abortion rights have been protected for decades in Hungary, autocratic Prime Minister Viktor Orban has introduced numerous restrictions and residents are increasingly traveling to Austria to obtain care.

The Republican Party and right-wing activists in the U.S. have fostered close ties with Orban, coordinating with his government to block a proposed global minimum tax on multinational companies in recent weeks and holding their annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Budapest in May.

"The conservative counter-revolution against abortion rights is here in Europe," said Renew Europe, a liberal group within the E.U. Parliament. "We are clear and we mean it: There is no going back!"

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