Roe v Wade: Labour MEPs support parliamentary appeal to prevent backslide on reproductive rights

Cyrus Engerer and Alfred Sant back resolution calling for protection of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide, other MEPs do not register vote; David Casa votes against

MEPs condemned the backsliding in women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights worldwide, with special mention for the fate of the landmark Roe v Wade case of 1973, which protects the right to abortion in the American constitution.

MEPs adopted a resolution by 364 votes in favour, 154 against and 37 abstentions. While Labour MEPs Cyrus Engerer and Alfred Sant voted in favour, colleagues Josianne Cutajar and Alex Agius Saliba did not register a vote; Nationalist MEP David Casa voted against.

The US Supreme Court could vote to overturn America’s guaranteed nationwide protection of abortion rights, to allow each US state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion.

The European Parliament said that were a ban to take effect, it is estimated that the annual number of maternal deaths in the US due to unsafe abortions would increase by 21% by the second year.

MEPs urged the US administration to ensure access to safe and legal abortion, and for the Texas state administration to repeal Senate Bill 8 and bring their legislation in line with internationally protected women’s human rights.

MEPs said abortion bans disproportionately affect women in poverty, who cannot afford to travel to reproductive health clinics in neighbouring states or countries, and are therefore at a greater risk of undergoing unsafe and life-threatening procedures.

MEPs said the European External Action Service, the Commission and all EU countries should compensate for any possible reduction in US funding to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) globally, and strongly advocate and prioritise universal access to safe and legal abortion in their external relations.

They also said medical professionals who risk legal or other forms of harassment be offered a safe haven.

Once again MEPs also urged member states, Malta among them, to decriminalise abortion and remove obstacles to safe and legal abortion and access to SRHR services.

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