COMECE 'saddened' by vote to include abortion access in EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

Following European Parliament's vote in favor of including access to abortion in the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights, the Secretary General of COMECE, Fr. Manuel Enrique Barrios Prieto, appeals for forming and educating consciences to vote responsibly in upcoming elections, and recalls the EU Bishops' recently-presented grounds for opposing voting for the resolution.

Apr 12, 2024

Mother with child (AFP or licensors)

By Deborah Castellano Lubov
"The vote today in the European Parliament in favour of this proposal for a resolution on the inclusion of abortion as a right in the European Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights obviously saddens us."

This was the reaction of Fr. Manuel Barrios Prieto, the Secretary General of the Bishops of the European Union, known as COMECE, reflecting on the vote.

With 373 votes to 163, members of European Parliament in Brussels voted a resolution to put access to abortion in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

While expressing the Bishops' sorrow for the result, Father Prieto acknowledged they were not shocked. "It was expected because the European Parliament has voted in the same direction previously in other resolutions and other proposals that were in the same sense."

He recalled the arguments the EU Bishops put forth in their statement ahead of this vote to oppose this resolution.

Grounds for opposing this
The main ground for its opposition, they insisted, is that abortion cannot be considered a fundamental right, because "a fundamental right" is "the right to life."

And this right, they underscored, has to be respected especially when the persons are vulnerable, like the unborn child in their mother's womb.

Another argument was tied to the tendency to link together promoting women and promoting abortion, but, the COMECE Bishops argued, "these two things don't have to do with one another."

A third argument, they insisted, was that the European Union should not impose ideologies, especially to adopt seeing, in a certain way, the human person, sexuality and family.

Furthermore, the EU Bishops reiterated that "the Charter cannot include some rights that are divisive and not accepted by all."

Forming consciences to care for life
The COMECE official lamented the Christian roots among several of those who voted in favour.

"As Church, what do we have to do?" he asked, saying how important it is, as we approach new elections to the European Parliament, that voters make "responsible" votes.

"This," he suggested, is a task of all of us. "The Parliament depends on us. What the Parliament is, depends on our votes."

The task of the Church, for the long run, he concluded by saying, is that of "forming people and educating them, to express and deliver our message on the importance of caring for life."--Vatican News

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