Pro-Abortion Advocacy from Council of Europe
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, Latvian American Nils Muižnieks, released a new report that promotes access to abortion  on demand for all of Europe— Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe.

The report, officially called an “Issue Paper”, expresses views on abortion that are normally reserved for pro-abortion organizations and activists and for good reason. The paper was prepared for the commissioner on human rights by four employees of pro-abortion legal and policy organization, the Center for Reproductive Rights. 

While the report is critical of laws that seek to reduce the number of abortions, it expresses its strongest opposition to new attempts to strengthen laws and policies against abortion calling such actions “retrogressive restrictions”. The Summary includes: “In some member states, laws and policies have sought to roll back existing protections for women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, in particular through the introduction of retrogressive restrictions on access to abortion and contraception…”

Commonsense policies to ensure that women are fully informed before undergoing the life-ending and life-altering act of abortion are considered “legislative retrogression”. The paper states, “Mandatory waiting periods and biased counselling requirements prior to abortion are particularly common examples of these newly imposed, retrogressive procedural barriers that undermine women’s health and human rights.” 

Parental or spousal consent are also opposed as “procedural barriers that affect women’s timely access to abortion care”. 

An associated web page—Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe, We Have to Act Now— has been set up by the commissioner.  

The commissioner’s explanation for the paper and the web page: “Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights are human rights. However, women in Europe still have these rights denied or restricted as a result of laws, policies and practices that ultimately reflect continuing gender stereotypes and inequalities. States must resolutely commit to advancing gender equality in this crucial sphere of life. They have the duty to provide all women with accessible, affordable, good quality sexual and reproductive health care and services.” 

The paper is particularly concerned about the impact of health care workers who are opposed to abortion and lists recommendations for countries to follow including limiting conscience rights only to those directly involved in the abortion, limiting to individuals and not extending to institutions, includes a duty to refer to “an alternative willing and capable provider”, and disallows the right of conscience in “emergency or urgent situations”. There is no mention of national sovereignty in the recommendations and country proposals for near-total bans on abortion are strongly opposed. It states: “Proposals for near-total bans on abortion have also been tabled in recent years in Lithuania, Slovakia, Spain, Poland and the Russian Federation. Although these initiatives were eventually rejected…they provide a powerful illustration of the extent and nature of the backlash to the advancement of women’s rights and gender equality in some parts of Europe.” 

The paper references International Planned Parenthood Federation as a source for information in its promotion of mandatory comprehensive sexuality education, “Although it is critical that comprehensive sexuality education be provided as part of mandatory school curricula, in some member states, such as Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland and Romania, sexuality education either remains voluntary or policies allow children to be withdrawn from classes.” 

The most extreme statement in the paper repeats the false pro-abortion claim that “the right to life as enshrined in core international human rights treaties does not apply prior to birth and international human rights law does not recognise a prenatal right to life.” 

Ignored is the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its clear unambiguous exhortation that "the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth". 

In commenting about the report, Muižnieks tweeted: “Assaults on women’s reproductive health & rights take many forms in Europe today. Barriers to safe abortion care are among the most problematic. RT to share my recommendations #SRHR are #HumanRights #HumanRightsDay” 

PNCI notes that this prejudiced Issue Paper calls into question the judgment of Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks who in allowing such biased promotion of abortion and related issues reduced the stature of his office to that of pro-abortion puppet.