Brussels to Continue Funding Abortion in Developing Countries

Written by | Thursday, June 12th, 2014

A European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI) has urged the European Commission to stop funding abortion programs in developing countries and thus respect the right to live as a tenet of human rights. The Commission turned down the idea outright. The EU’s executive leadership did not agree to curb any direct or indirect development funding of abortion in poor countries. The EU28 is the world’s biggest provider of development aid after the United States, which does not permit its development aid to be spent on abortion. The demand that the EU rejected abortion funding was presented by a citizen initiative “One of Us” which had raised more than one million signatures across seven EU Member States calling for Brussels to rethink its development policy standards. One million signatures is the requirement that allows the public to call on the EU Commission to propose legislation changes. In this case, the original initiative was concerned that “juridical protection of the dignity, the right to life and of the integrity of every human being from conception in the areas of EU competence in which such protection is of particular importance.”
“One of Us” suggests that the EU should implement a ban on and end financing of activities which allow the destruction of human embryos, in particular in the areas of research, development aid and public health. Yet, despite the legibility of the cause raised by the organization, the Commission said that the ban on funding as by the initiative “would constrain the Union’s ability to deliver on the objectives set out in the MDGs, particularly on maternal health.” Between 2008 and 2012, the EU devoted approximately 1.5 billion EUR to maternal, neonatal, and infantile care aiming to strengthen women’s health and empowerment throughout the developing world. One of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals is to reduce maternal mortality by three quarters during the 1990-2015 period. Unsafe abortions that are often prevalent in poor countries are a major cause contributing to maternal mortality, accounting for 16 percent of 47,000 deaths annually. The EU strongly believes that development aid plays an essential role in family planning policies as well.

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