We recently asked whether you thought same-sex marriage should be legal in all EU member states. As we pointed out at the time, this particular issue – like most questions of family law – is not an EU competence. Instead, decisions of this nature are taken individually by member state governments.

Nevertheless, we often receive questions about similar issues on Debating Europe, and it is worth discussing them. For example, we recently recorded the following video contribution from Garance:

I think that Europe should create a common law concerning abortion. It think that, in certain extreme cases, women should have the choice whether to keep or not the child.

Abortions are available on request in most EU member states, but there are several exceptions (including Malta, Ireland and Poland). Controversially, this has led to women from those countries travelling to EU member states with less restrictive laws in order to have abortions.

Again, this is not an issue that the EU may legislate on (and, in fact, there is even a protocol of the Treaty of Lisbon explicitly protecting Ireland’s abortion ban). This is a decision taken at the national level. So, for example, Lithuania’s parliament is currently debating a bill banning abortions except in cases of rape, incest or health complications, and the conservative Spanish government is also planning an abortion law reform.

However, should there EU-wide rules on abortion? To begin the debate, we spoke to Johanna Westeson, then Regional Director for Europe at the Centre for Reproductive Rights.

We also took Garence’s comment to Michael Cashman, at that time a British Labour Party MEP and part of the  Social Democrats group in the European Parliament. How would he respond?

Finally, we spoke to Chris Wigram, International Director of the European Christian Mission. How would he respond?

wigram-speaksThis is an issue where there are very deeply held convictions on all sides, but it is also an issue that illustrates some of the main concerns people have with European law. Taking the views of all Europeans, including both religious and non-religious people,  and encapsulating all of that in one law is jolly difficult, especially across 27 sovereign states.

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Hey Paul Studios

Vote 2014

Voting is closed in our Debating Europe Vote 2014! The results are now in, so come and see what our readers thought!

150 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think? At the moment, abortion laws are decided at the national level by individual member states, but should there be EU-wide rules on abortion? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we'll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

  1. avatar
    Antonio Jose Pecurto Pecurto

    Sim devia haver regas comunitarias sobre o abordo a Europa tm paises que no esto de acordo com leis que so praticas nos outros paises do abordo a Europa tm que encontrar o caminho de politicas de unio e s assim temos o projecto Europeu de todos os cidados da Europa

  2. avatar
    Eric David Bosne

    This is one of the most polemic discussions, therefore any implementation won’t be easy. It must be done by baby steps and with a big majority of agreement between people.
    If Europe would make any kind of rules it must be about the bare minimums such as if the woman’s health is in risk.
    In my opinion bigger changes are only possible by national choices.

    • avatar

      Abortion is already allowed and practised in Ireland if the mothers health is at risk…during pregnancy…the only criteria for abortion that should be allowed. And as far as feotal abnormality is concerned a relative of mine was told her baby had a feotal abnormality at 21 weeks and the baby would suffocate and die in her womb. She now has a healthy four yr old boy.

  3. avatar
    Kim Jacobsen

    No it would be better if the member states handled this by themselves. Certain issues should not be handled by the EU.

  4. avatar

    Because forbiddance led women from countries like Malta, Ireland and Poland travelling to EU member states with less restrictive laws in order to have abortions,
    I think abortion laws should be decided at European level and should there be EU-wide rules on that

    • avatar

      I think that the EU should be out of social policy as well… and I wonder if the people really KNOW what is an abortion. 90% of woman who see their baby and baby’s heart in an ultrasound will opt out from having an abortion. Abortion kills a human being in the most horrible way and is beyond my comprehension how a “mother” can do this to her own son/daughter. This is soo sad and wrong!

  5. avatar
    Monika Ghosh

    As a personal belief, every woman should have the right to abortion, however when looking at the EU as a legislative body, I have to agree with Jovan that it is up to each and every Member State to decide on their policies. It is not up to the EU to dictate political directions for ethical issues such as abortions, and so would not be fair for the EU to take a stance on this. Perhaps, if necessary, the Parliament could take a vote, as they are the only directly elected body, but still I must doubt that national values are not a large player here.

  6. avatar
    Nikolai Holmov

    A straight forward answer – NO – the EU should not even entertain this idea.

    What would the EU gain by entering such a polarising and emotive arena? To do so is very likely to turn even more people against it as an entity regardless of any subsequent decision it made.

    One of the best things about the EU sitting somewhere between confederation and federation is that such emotive issues can be left to the nation states – thus the “EU” if considered the “core” does not become entrapped in the radically different and extremely emotive positions of the nation states if we see them as the “periphery”.

    If there is no valid reason for the “core” to become unnecessarily involved/contaminated/infected/ by such a polarising issue, why do it when in doing so, regardless of any policy decision, massive numbers of people will disagree (not to mention numerous Member States on either side)?

    The EU would be absolutely mad to involve itself in such an issue particularly when the freedom of movement it holds as an overarching principle theoretically allows women to travel from a more pro-life State to a more socially liberal one.

    It is hard to argue the EU pillar of human rights demands EU involvement when all Member States already have to meet a certain level of human rights adherence to join the club in the first place and can be subjected to Article 7 if necessary to curb and wild divergences from basic human rights foundations.

    A further problem if it decided to enter this fray, would be the overt and excessive lobbying from the religious quarter – and as somebody who is very much a believer in absolute and insulated segregation between State and Church, it goes without saying encouraging such lobbying over issues the EU has no need to get involved in would not have my backing.

  7. avatar
    Marco Loureiro

    No. There is still a great deal of cultural differences that will always clash regarding themes sucha as this. A consensus would be difficult.

  8. avatar
    Iris Affengruber

    What if that woman got raped and doesn’t want the kid? Of course she doesn’t want the kid. Or if the condom broke and the girl is 17 and can’t handle a kid, or isn’t ready?
    Abortions should be legal in all EU. My opinion.

  9. avatar

    This has nothing to do with any government ,It is a personal matter for the woman involved.

  10. avatar
    George Philis

    As we begin to debate this very controversial issue, we must not forget that the EU has a responsibility to protect individual rights. What is going on inside a woman’s body should primarily concern the woman… and EU ought to respect and protect that right!

  11. avatar

    Iris, you pose questions but hide the answers. Your answers are: (What if the woman got raped?) Let’s kill the baby! (What if the condom broke?) Let’s kill the baby! (What if the girl is 17 and isnt ready?) Let’s kill the baby! Do you really think all those things justify killing a human being?
    To answer your questions, Debating Europe, the only question the EU needs to ask herself and answer is: When does human life start? If the answer is at conception, then yes, there should be a Europe-wide ban on abortion, because it is a murder, it takes away the right to life – the most fundamental right of each and every human being. But if EU or anyone else can prove life starts at some other point, then ban it from that point on. We all know when life starts, if you use reason, you can figure it out, but we prefer not to because it’s more comfortable.
    I believe one day there will be an EU-wide rule on abortion, a rule that will protect the right to life (also enshrined in the EU Charter).

  12. avatar
    Beny Simko

    Iris, you pose questions but hide the answers. Your answers are: (What if the woman got raped?) Let’s kill the baby! (What if the condom broke?) Let’s kill the baby! (What if the girl is 17 and isnt ready?) Let’s kill the baby! Do you really think all those things justify killing a human being?
    To answer your questions, Debating Europe, the only question the EU needs to ask herself and answer is: When does human life start? If the answer is at conception, then yes, there should be a Europe-wide ban on abortion, because it is a murder, it takes away the right to life – the most fundamental right of each and every human being. But if EU or anyone else can prove life starts at some other point, then ban it from that point on. We all know when life starts, if you use reason, you can figure it out, but we prefer not to because it’s more comfortable.
    I believe one day there will be an EU-wide rule on abortion, a rule that will protect the right to life (also enshrined in the EU Charter).

    24/05/2018 Catriona Graham, Policy and Campaigns Officer at the European Women?s Lobby, has responded to this comment.

    24/05/2018 Maeve O Hanlon, a spokesperson for Ireland’s Pro Life Campaign, has responded to this comment.

  13. avatar
    Juan Negrillo

    I think that to reach this goal first we have to balance the power of the differents religions in every country. And then we will be able to talk about abortion and its conditions. Sad but true..

  14. avatar
    Cris Hova

    Abortion in 2013 – still a problem in European Union…this just proves how good people understand each others…and also this is so sad…

  15. avatar
    Julka Hrivikova

    firstly there should be adequate and satisfactory sexual education on schools, availability of means to prevent unintendent gravidity for young and mainly socialy excluded, and then we dont have to discuss this issue.. but try to explain this in some countries…

  16. avatar
    Toni Selkälä

    As already evidenced by above remarks, there are strong convictions held by both parties of the argument. However, to simply state that regulating such matters is past the European Union would be a fallacy as well. After all, in Brüstle case the CJEU already defined what an embryo is; if someone would ask what a child is according to the European Union law (e.g. based on free movement provisions or specialised legislation) the Court would have to answer the question to one way or another. For example, to what extent other member states are responsible from the health of a foetus if a pregnant citizen of another member state moves to another country looking for a work.

    Obviously, a mere referral from answer is an alternative that the EU may embrace, but it hardly is an ideal solution either. After all, in a democratic society or collective, the deliberation ought to take place in public, not inside courts’ chambers. Furthermore, insistence on “national discretion” is misleading as the present situation comes to show: if affluent members of society in e.g. Ireland are fully capable of having a termination of their pregnancies abroad in another EU member state, denial of similar rights from those less well-off is tantamount to discrimination.

    Personally I do oppose the simple “beginning of life” argument suggested by Beny as beginning of life does not entail absolute right to life. Furthermore, as evidenced by virtually all European jurisdictions, you can value the life of a foetus and still support termination, as right to life is not absolute: it is not absolute for us paradigmatic bearers of rights (see e.g. ECHR art. 2), how come it ought to be absolute for foetuses even if we would accept their existence as life from the moment of conception? If life can be deprived from a person “in defence of any person from unlawful violence” how come such a deprivation of life would not establish similar rights vis-à-vis foetuses.

    I think that rather than seeking to unify abortion legislation per se, the EU might be encouraged to at least discuss more from the prospects of biomedical technologies in future. To what extent parents ought to have a right to dictate the genetic make-up of their offspring and how concomitant such determinations are e.g. with the European Union’s acceptance of UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. Can we argue in favour of rights of disabled at the same time when we are actively trying to eradicate all forms of disabilities at birth? Does it not contain denouncement of any inherent value a life with disability might have and, as such, devalue life of all those living with disabilities among us?

    • avatar

      The child (born or unborn) = the mother in terms of their value as people, human beings. Life of both deserves protection equally. NOTHING, no matter how many ECHR legislation you cite, can justify killing the innocent person. Abortion=murder.

  17. avatar
    David Calão

    That’s just silly. There are big issues that EU must adress, issues of this kind are for the voters of member-states to decide. This is a union of nation-states, not a country.

  18. avatar
    George Philis

    It may be difficult to discuss legislation on abortion EU-wide. States are respected in passing their own laws. But I think what is going on inside a woman’s body should primarily concern the woman, and so the freedom of her reproductive choices should also be respected and protected. I believe a balanced approach is possible and so it becomes an EU issue.

  19. avatar
    Cornel Mosneag

    Really doubt it is possible. Romania had one of the most liberal abortion laws before communism, then Ceausescu banned it, after 1990 it was liberalized again and I do not think any woman wants to hear of regulations again. The situation could be different in other countries… so a consensus will be hard to reach.

  20. avatar

    Personally I feel that every woman should have the right to choose. However this is one debate that should stay be debated within each country – not for the EU as a whole.

    To force say a country like Ireland to adopt an EU wide abortion policy would start all sorts of political problems. At present the country is beginning to change policy and it needs to do it at its own pace.

    If not you stir up the religious elements in Ireland and very quickly you stir up the right wing religious organisations throughout Europe as a whole. We’ve seen the violent demonstrations against gay marriage in France.

    An abortion policy would unite these factions and this would have an adverse affect not only on the EU, but in national and regional politics.

  21. avatar

    Probably the topic is not very suitable for the EU law.
    Nevertheless, you can address it via the European Convention on Human Rights. I believe that, like in the USA, abortion may be redirected to the question of the interdiction of arbitrary interferences of the government on the private life (and, thus, protected by the article 8 of the Convention). Sadly enough, the ECHr haven’t gone so far.

    Anyway, the lack of competence in the EU is not a limit for those opposed to abortion, as is obvious in some ECI (cfr. One of us).

  22. avatar
    Daniel Pluskota

    yes, because everyone has right to decide about herself. life of totipotential tissues cannot be more important than life of woman…..

  23. avatar
    Jovan Ivosevic

    Beny: I have another answer for you that you are trying to avoid giving “Terminating a pregnancy in the first trimester” =/= killing a baby in the minds of scientists and the majority of the population.

    • avatar

      First of all, I can write you a very long list of scientist who know that life begins at conception (basic biology actually). Second of all, have you heard that majorities can be wrong. The majority in Nazi Germany considered killing the Jews right (same as the majority today thinks abortion is right) but it doesnt mean it really is, the opposite was and is true in both cases. Do you know what happens when someone “terminates the pregnancy” (to use your nice politically correct language? Being pregnant means there is sth in your womb that might be born one day and look exactly as you. It’s life, it’s not part of the mother’s body, it’s got different DNA. A mother can cut her hand, the hand would never become a person like you. But she can not cut her baby, because it certainly will become a person like you. And terminate means..end, end the life inside the womb, since the life in innocent (even in the case of rape, its not the baby that raped the woman, its a man, why not kill him, but the innocent child instead?), and if Im not mistaken 1killing 2an innocent 3person are 3 necessary conditions of the definition of murder. So back to the old battle – is the unborn/the foetus a person? You can read the rest in The Unaborted Socrates by Peter Kreeft

  24. avatar
    Rob Riley

    Freedom of choice is a must.

  25. avatar

    The march to Eurosoviet-dom continues.

    Brussels mantra: everything must be harmonized/synchronized/gleichgeschaltet.

    Brussels ideology: diversity must be stamped out. All obey the Eurosoviet! All laws the same everywhere! All incomes the same everywhere! No diversity! No differences! Eurosoviet all the way!

  26. avatar
    Ester Pomarolli

    I think each state must decide about ethical topics by itsels. we experience contrasting point of view in a country, we cannot expect a continent to have a general approval. EU-wide rules on abortion or marriage would cause bigger protests than those happened in France.

  27. avatar

    The population of EU member states have very diverse values (see link). The attempt of the EU establishment to impose top down single “European values” cannot work if people prefer democracy in contrast to a totalitarian regime addicted to centralization and standardization.

    If the EU respect “subsidiarity” then the right to regulate abortian remains with the individual member state, as it should be with matters like to same sex marriages etc.

  28. avatar
    catherine benning

    No, each State has to remain able to choose the direction wanted by the people of their nation. Otherwise, you end up with something despised by the states then find we are forced to comply, as with Gay marriage. Or, like the UK, you get a rigged poll, as they do with this issue, pretending it is a majority in favour, which clearly it is not. Should we have an overall EU directive on abortion the same thing would happen. Forced acceptance or rigged ballots. We in the UK face rigged ballots on many issues. Another being ‘the majority of our citizens want us out of the EU.’ Government sets it up that way with media propaganda and fake complaints.

    The only issue on abortion that needs consideration is the time frame. No woman needs more than three months to decide on motherhood. The British situation is sinister, creating the need for the abortionists to murder a breathing moving child. That is beyond the pail of any human civilization and removes the concept of the meaning of life. Barbaric.

    Really you are posing this question because of Ireland and Italy and you want to force them to go against their conscience. The same as the Gay marriage issue. Forcing down the throats of us all, whilst at the same time, removing our rights of association. You are a dangerous and strange thinking bunch in the EU. It always has that WW2 feel of a fait accompli. We allow no dissent from the wishes of the leaders.

  29. avatar
    Limbidis Adrian

    While i’m ok with gay marriage ( and no i’m not gay so i have no interest really in being pro ) and pro-abortion ( it’s a couple’s choice what they do in the early stages ) i tend to agree with catherine a bit here.
    Forcing – well, anything – down people’s throats is likely to build resentment which will be invisible on the surface but build explosively over time.
    Ok maybe not that dramatic but you get the idea. Mentality cannot change that quickly.

  30. avatar
    Dusan Jakovljevic

    Talking about abortion…. this is very inappropriate photo as the woman is clearly in the last trimester…

  31. avatar

    Yes, Women have all rights. But abortion is against the nature. Better to think before abortion, even better think before to form a baby

  32. avatar
    Natalie Lamb

    rules concerning the health of the women – yes. However rules prohibiting a woman from aborting, no. If Europe is as “free” and “democratic” as it claims, then women should be allowed to do what they please with their body without any interference.

    • avatar

      There is not a central national policy on abortion in the US. Abortion is decided on a state level. Also what does calling Americans “mental” have to do with abortion other than for the purpose of name calling?

  33. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    It is unrealistic not to…!! If we still want European integration we have to drop the taboo of “national” social policies and harmonize them to create equal rights for all citizens… We have open borders.. What good is to me to have certain rights in one country while they are forbiden across the border?

  34. avatar
    James Stevens

    It is down to individual countries to set policy. The people of Europe are fed up with ‘integration’ it is just a euphemism for backdoor communism, hence anti EU sentiment is rising in all member states and will continue to do so. A failing project that the people have and are tiring of.

  35. avatar

    That’s the way it should be. We have to think like a unique place.
    Why do EU rules about Conscientious Ojection? In Italy, the numer of objectors is about 70%. How can a Country respect the abortion law without doctors?

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @David Fuzzey
      I concur with the slight caveat that methinks the monkey in question would require NO training whatsoever perhaps?

  36. avatar
    Tamás Heizler

    I think this is typically an issue that should be kept on country level because we think of this absolutely differently

  37. avatar
    Tamás Heizler

    I agree with Ester Pomarolli. EU is an economical, financial and political union, which I think can be a productive alliance and I’m happy that Hungary is part of it. On the other hand I don’t think EU should over-estimate itself. So I think – as far as the European Union is not the Soviet Union – it shouldn’t create EU-wide rules about ethical, moral and lifestyle issues and press it on member states.

    If it’ll do it, then I’m sure that people will hate it as much as they used to hate the Soviet Union. And unfortunately some people – that originally voted for joining to the EU – have already hated it because it trying to press stupid things on member states. Today more than half of the population of the EU don’t like the EU, which is sad.

    So I think EU should rather work on increasing it’s popularity in member states than making itself hated by citizens just because of unnecessary EU-wide regulations. EU should remain a strong union of free, independent and democratic European countries and not becoming a 2nd Soviet Union. EU shouldn’t become over-centralized. Central decisions should be made only in case of very important economical, financial and external policy issues. Otherwise people will become to hate the EU which is absolutely not the aim.

  38. avatar

    I believe it’s a woman’s choice what to do with her body, no one else has any rights and choice is for her alone.

    Why pick on woman’s rights and issues when there are more serious issues rape in every form is probably the most serious? Why are the people who are paid to introduce and implement laws not addressing real issues? Human trafficking is an organised crime on a global scale, what are they doing about this?

    It’s time to stop bullying and picking on woman, enforcing laws that do not help. It’s time to deal with real issues!!!

  39. avatar
    Chantelle Mifsud

    If there is complications and a sufficient reason not to keep the fetus we should have the right to perform it in our own country. This is not easy as it seems .. the issues of divorce was pretty much similar here in Malta. Those who can afford marrying abroad are eligible to this right whilst those who aren’t need to stick with the situation throughout their lives. Finally we obtained it after ( long and tiring and debates). Now, the same applies with abortion – The dichotomy of those who can “Afford it” AND “Not”.

    One might argue that with this line of thinking – Why do I need to travel to Amsterdam to smoke a Joint? Whilst here it’s considered as if you’ve murdered someone and there’s no distinction between soft and hard drugs per se.

    This will lead to an infinite regress , so what I suggest is that we keep things at a national level – “BUT” these issues needs to addressed from an ethical board (I’m assuming that there is ). If we need a right we need to stand up and promote it as they did with the divorce issue.

    We’re heading there..

  40. avatar

    My body, my life, MY DECISION!

  41. avatar
    Katerina Kyriazi

    This was answered decades ago. Yes abortion is a women’s right. Why are we even regressing to the past with these sorts of questions.

  42. avatar
    Teodorescu Dragos

    Yes, according with Genev convention, it would be a violation of human rights to obligue a woman for makeing or not abortion.

  43. avatar
    Darko Dobrić

    It does not make any sense at all to be asking this kind of questions at this point in time…

  44. avatar
    Nir Hannah

    I thought Europe was way too emancipated for this sort of discussions…please, don’t prove me wrong!

  45. avatar
    Tina Tavares

    Abortion is never a choice! Its the worse kind of punishment… Women have real choices: to use condoms, to use the pill, to say no, to have surgery… That’s how you prevent pregnancy!… Abortion is to kill!!! Don’t want babies? Don’t want to use condoms?! Easy! Have a tubal ligation! Problem solved! It’s SO EASY and SO FREE CHOICE OF WOMEN… Men do love that kind of freedom: a lots of sex, no fear of pregnancy!… And, who cares about AIDS, herpes and cancer?!… If you take the correct measures to prevent pregancy you are also preventing this diseases, but that’s not the issue is it?! You wanto to kill an unbourn human baby just because you made a mistake and do not want to live with it… How about giving those babies for adoption?! hell, no way, better to kill them!!! Yeh! I’ve seen that in my country: the rates of antidepressives increased 200%… Killing it’s a 2 ways street…

  46. avatar
    Iveta Iva

    Friends, dont u think that HUMAN RIGHTS should serve for those who cannot protect themselves? Think abt this ?And if we can accept that a mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?? ? Mother Teresa. Therefore I cannot accept it as a human right. Our society needs morals, not justified murders. Dont solve a problem from the very end. U r not the one who gives and decides who will be born, so dont take life. Moreover, woman will realize this terrible fault afterwards and coz of her conscious she will have to take antidepressants. I have read articles abt those women, it is a wound for whole life…

  47. avatar
    Raluca Pusderca

    Not really a decent question to ask, is it? And it was about time the Irish came to their senses after the shameful scandals they were in for letting women die in pain due to pregnancy complications.

  48. avatar

    I believe abortion should be considered a human right for women.

  49. avatar
    Mila Damyanoska

    Are human rights discussable at all?! I think it’s an absolute contradiction with EU’s idealism to regulate personal choices. It’s far more sensible to think how the EU should come up with welfare programs on educating women/men on how to prevent abortion scenarios.

  50. avatar
    Sini Castrén

    Should women have a right over their own body? Should women die due to prolonged pregnancy? Should raped women and girls be forced to give birth? What kind of questions are Debating Europe debating? The fact some EU countries have national laws contradicting universal human rights does not mean that Debating Europe puts starting standards of discussion that low. Every Irish woman who dies due to those Irish laws are one too many and their deaths the responsibility of their Government.

    • avatar

      Over their own body? Yes. But when it collides with someone else´s body (her baby), she can not do WHATEVER she wants, especially not kill.
      Your logic suggests women could and should drink 2 litres vodka every day during their pregnancy because they have a right over their body and that enables them to do it. Then why not? Why not drink alcohol every day during pregnancy? It´s their right isnt it?
      “Should women die due to prolonged pregnancy?”
      Should innocent people be killed because their mothers dont want them to live?
      “Should raped women and girls be forced to give birth?”
      Should innocent people be killed because their mothers dont want them to live?
      “The fact some EU countries have national laws contradicting universal human rights does not mean that Debating Europe puts starting standards of discussion that low.”
      Universal human rights? And right to abortion? They have nothing in common.
      “Every Irish woman who dies due to those Irish laws are one too many and their deaths the responsibility of their Government.”
      Every unborn child that dies due to abortion is one too many, and there have already been billions.
      Hello, there are two people involved in abortion, not just one. It´s an actual human being that is killed in this process.

  51. avatar
    Isaac Gabriella

    uterus is a public good! should provide social benefits…cheap labor force,soldiers to die for politician egos….. well, women rights! this is good joke…how can you even think on?…wait for the debate on vagina as public good, which is on a good way because rape is not necessary a felony in all circumstances…

  52. avatar
    Gabriela Marin

    Is an offense to women debating the subject. We are in 21 century, what are we talking about here? Is the woman right to do as she wants!

  53. avatar
    Paul W.

    No there should not be european legislation relating to abortion. Every country in the EU has its own legislation regarding abortion. If the people living in a particular country wish to change those laws they have their own national political processes for doing this. If the majority of people in that country wish their abortion laws to remain unchanged then so be it. It is called democracy. For the EU to start forcing laws onto people of sovreign nations is undemocratic and undesirable. Europe should focus on policy areas that are genuinly pan european such as the environment where polution produced by one country affects another country. The abortion laws in one member state do not impact on the others member states and as such are nothing to do with the EU.

  54. avatar

    La vida humana ante todo debemos de protegerla
    La protección social debe tener las herramientas para el crecimiento socio-económico
    Tengo 5 hijos me encuentro de baja, pagando como autónomo 1000€ mes sin embargo, la espera para la operación de rodilla es de 1 año y 6 meses (cita para operación 2014 etc…
    Los ingresos antes del accidente eran de 25 000 € año
    En estos momentos los ingresos en el grupo familiar son de 650 € baja autónomo -1000€ pago de autónomo = -350 € mes dividido padres y 5 niños = – 50 € mes
    La avaricia de las políticas actuales no tienen precedentes .
    “cuantos mas problemas tiene el pueblo mas oficinas administrativas se inventan”
    si volvieran personas como Andre Citroen nadie pensaría en abortar
    Hoy gracias a la seguridad social de España (despues de pagar 1000 € mes)
    quiero presentar una denuncia contra la seguridad social Española

  55. avatar

    Human life above all we must protect
    Social protection must have the tools for socio-economic growth
    I have 5 children I find myself low as a self paying € 1,000 month though, waiting for knee surgery is 1 year and 6 months (appointment to 2014 operation etc …
    Income before the accident were € 25,000 year
    At present the income in the household are € 650 € -1,000 low payment autonomous self = € -350 month divided parents and 5 children = – € 50 month
    The greed of the current policies are unprecedented.
    “How many more problems the people have more administrative offices are invented”
    return if people like Andre Citroen anyone think of abortion
    ANDA to calve A CITROEN
    Today, thanks to social security Spain (after paying € 1,000 per month)
    I want to file a complaint against the Spanish social security

  56. avatar

    For starters, EU must decide if either we follow federation or confederation and if we want to be practical or dogmatic. Women do have the last word when it comes to their body but they cannot abuse on abortion and use it as a contraception mesure. So, in my opinion EU should assume itself as a true union economic, politic, financial and as a whole. so that we can act as a country and no as states that do what´s best for them. EU must take polemic issues and adress them under the penalty of making regulations on matters that all agree whereas the polemic matters are rulled according to each ideology or culture which means that in the end we will never be trully united.

  57. avatar
    Ivan Burrows

    Of course not, such legislation would require a unanimous vote in the Council which it would never get so the question is pointless, antidemocratic & totalitarian.

    And people wonder why we are leaving their EU.

  58. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    There is no “should”… But it does not make sense to have open borders and free movement of people and different regulations for each state. I mean in Ireland (Republic of) abortions are still illegal but in Northern Ireland which is part of the UK, they are legal. So all Irish women have to do is just travel to the North, cross the border and do it! So what’s the point?

  59. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    What bruxelliots SHOULD DO is to STOP LOOKING FOR NEW WAYS TO REPLACE ELECTED GOVERNMENTS. The EU has enough powers and enoug jobs to do: jobs that the EU does not perform properly. Monetary policy is a DISASTER, european economies are not converging, integration and cohesion are endagered (to say the least!).. europe is a mess because european institutions are failing. Do NOT look for more jobs to do: just do what you are supposed to.

    • avatar

      Why don´t we make killing of innocent human beings illegal everywhere?

  60. avatar
    Gabriel Paździor

    No, as far as I know that topic is outside of EU jurisdiction whatsoever. Union can’t by law and definition intervene in such matters. You point this in the first sentences of the article.

  61. avatar

    Why doesn’t Debating Europe bring forward topics such as political mistrust, institutional mistrust, “the tragedy of using the people as the lenders of last resort for the most ludicrous of problems, such as bailing out incompetent banks who misuse of depositor’s money”?
    Are those not important? Or too frightening to tackle?

    But on this topic, how many more men do we need managing womens’ issues and rights?

  62. avatar
    Thomas Beavitt

    The liberal discourse of human rights runs straight into the sand with this issue. So a woman has a right to choose. So a baby has a right to life. What gives? Whether in fundamental Christian or Islamic morality or in liberal ethical discourses, there is no straightforward answer. Nobody would sanction killing an unwanted baby at birth. But one that is still inside a woman’s body? Fine, especially if there is a market for its body parts! The EU is essentially a (neo)liberal construct, which to a certain degree unites national entities that, to the extent that they exist at all, assert their identity on the basis of culture and tradition. The failure to resolve certain “fundamental” issues at the EU level should not be any surprise. Liberalism can only be taken so far before it collapses. It has already been taken further than it can be taken so collapse is inevitable. Perhaps the EU can maintain its skeleton structure if it retreats from any attempt to base itself on “fundamental” human rights. But if it tries to press ahead it is certainly doomed!

  63. avatar
    Laura Tirsolea

    Abortion laws should be decided at the national level by individual member states as they are.And most important, every woman should decide for herself.

  64. avatar
    Dimitris Atsalas

    Abortion should be considered a human right (controversial maybe for some but true for me)
    So if EU really has something to say about Human rights then it should at least acknowledge this one.

    • avatar

      It is as simple as that.

      No reason (be it rape, bad economic situation, not “being ready” for a baby…etc.) can ever justify a murder (i.e. killing of an innocent human being)

  65. avatar
    σαντυ αλεξανδρου

    That’s facism.You can’t decide about everything.We have different principals.Women should have the right to decide.But in coutries that abortion isn’t allowed the issue is what happens with victims of rape and ill children.There the European Union should do something.

  66. avatar
    Toni Muñiz

    Only if via referendum. We are tired of the BS dictacted by EU from commissioners no one elected pushing their own agenda.

  67. avatar
    Theo Jordanidou

    when death penalty will be back, that’s when we can talk about abortion… the main difference is that in most of the cases criminals can get death penalty, an innocent embrio is not a criminal – in my opinion…

  68. avatar
    Flavio Sousa

    If people actually saw the images of an abortion, they wouldn’t be so permissive about it. Abortion is a monstruous crime against human life and the EU should ban it.

  69. avatar
    Orange Marie-ange

    Yes all European women must have the sames rights! Osez le féminisme ! Le Planning Familial European Women’s Lobby

  70. avatar
    Ander Anderson

    Theo Jordanidou and Flavio Sousa you are both talking nonsense because we are living in the year 2015 and not 1815 because thousands of women have fought for the right to have an abortion if they want to .For years there were backstreet abortions under dirty conditions but now they are carried out under sterile conditions and whether or not it is a pretty sight doesn’t matter because these backstreet abortions weren’t a pretty sight either and it isn’t up to the EU to ban anything and nor should it be either because it,s up to the women themselves and where they live and not necessary in the EU in particular .
    Last week in Poland a politician said that sperm was also a human Being so she that no women should recieve sperm from a donor either but her ideas like yours are long out of date

  71. avatar
    Danna Caraian

    Abortion is a CRIME. When she/he is birth has ALREADY 9 month OF LIVE. If nobody would KILL her/him she/he would live. Nobody has the right to KILL while europeans have a lot of contarception methods.

  72. avatar
    James Campbell

    If the issue is to be a supra-national one, it must be on a worldwide basis because we are talking about human rights (whichever side of the fence you are on). The EU requires member states to sign up to the ECHR. What is the point of the ECHR for EU member states if the EU starts to legislate in human rights areas?

    Less power to the EU – not more.

  73. avatar
    Maria Elena Csaszar

    I do not support abortion and I consider it as a crime…but a person must build his Life as he wants to…with or without children!!!I Would like to See people more responsable…young people especially but generally speaking we must give the right éducation!!!!Prevention is the word not Abortion!!!Abortion should be légal only for médical reasons…

  74. avatar
    Raluca Pusderca

    Yes, based on secular state principles, not religion. Some EU states still need help with understanding that. Also, women are not second or third class citizens, so more needs to be done in empowering women to decide for themselves.

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