Enshrining a ‘right to abortion’ would be ‘an unjust law, devoid of an ethical foundation and destined to be a cause of perpetual conflict among the citizens of the EU,’ the European bishops wrote.
By David McLoone
BRUSSELS – The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) has spoken out against French President Emmanuel Macron after he called for a “right to abortion” to be included in the European Union (EU) Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The COMECE, a supranational body representing the bishops’ conferences of EU member states, released a statement Tuesday condemning Macron’s push to have abortion recognized as a right in European law, describing the move as running “against fundamental European beliefs and values.” If successful, the bishops said the change to the Charter would constitute “an unjust law.”
The Catholic Church has always taught the “moral evil of every procured abortion,” with the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) stating that “[t]his teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.”
“Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law,” the CCC reads.
Despite being a baptized Catholic, although admittedly a lapsed one, and after France took control of the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU last month, Macron told the European parliament during a January 19 speech that he wished to update the Charter or Fundamental Rights “to make it more explicit on [issues like] environmental protection and the recognition of the right [sic] to abortion.”
He added that he considers abortion to be a part of “European values,” the codification of which forms “the basis for our unity, our pride, and our strength.”
However, as things stand, under the title “Dignity,” article 2 of the Charter states, “Everyone has the right to life.”
Asserting that abortion is part of the rule of law, Macron suggested that some EU member states which severely restrict the killing of the unborn, like Poland and Malta, have “distanced themselves” from this rule.
“Let us open up this debate freely with our fellow citizens … to breathe new life into the pillar of law that forges this Europe of strong values,” Macron stated.
Accordingly, the European bishops stressed their “deep concern and opposition” to Macron’s proposition.
The episcopal group, headed by liberal Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, made pains to “point out that one of the main values” in European law “is the respect for the dignity of every human person in every stage of his or her life, especially in situations of complete vulnerability, as is the case of an unborn child.”
“Caring for women who are in a difficult or a conflict situation because of their pregnancy is a central part of the diaconal ministry of the Church and must also be a duty exercised by our societies,” the COMECE bishops wrote. “Women in distress should not be left alone, nor can the right to life of the unborn child be ignored. They both must receive all necessary help and assistance.”
Arguing against the legality of enshrining a “right” to abortion, the bishops said that “there is no recognized right to abortion in European or international law. Attempting to change this by introducing a supposed right to abortion in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, not only goes against fundamental European beliefs and values, but would be an unjust law, devoid of an ethical foundation and destined to be a cause of perpetual conflict among the citizens of the EU.”
“European integration should always foster and promote respect for different identities and avoid ideological impositions,” they continued. “In this sense, the proposal of President Macron of inserting this supposed right can in no way be seen as ‘breathing new life into our basic rights.’”
LifeSiteNews columnist Jeanne Smits noted that beside breaching the natural law, abortion has never been a right under international law “and over the years has been explicitly shown not to be a part of the European Union’s area of competence,” contradicting Macron’s claims and showing him to have overstepped his authority in suggesting such a change to the Charter.
Smits quoted Gregor Puppinck of the European Centre for Law and Justice, who explained, “The European Court has stipulated that the Convention guarantees neither the right to have an abortion nor the right to [perform] one.”
Puppinck stated that the court “does not even grant the right to have an abortion in another country with impunity,” and that it has ruled “that the prohibition of abortion does not violate the Convention.”