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EU funds must not be used for abortions in developing countries



EU funds must not be used for abortions

Press Release - 13 February 2003 The COMECE Secretariat issued the following statement on the adoption by the European Parliament on 13 February 2003 of a report by Ulla Margrethe Sandbaek MEP amending the draft EU regulation on aid for policies and actions on reproductive and sexual health and rights in developing countries (COD 2002/0052):

COMECE has followed the preparation of this report closely over recent months and has made input through contacts with the relevant institutions. A number of the Parliament's amendments improve the Commission's original proposal and reflect the concerns raised in our submissions. These include references to the importance of education, to individual responsibility as well as rights, and to the participation and consultation of families in implementing the regulation. COMECE appreciates the EU's substantial contribution to development assistance. Development policy should promote an integrated vision of the dignity of the human person, not only an individual's rights but also his or her responsibility within the family and society. We are concerned that the draft regulation represents a shift away from this integral vision towards a predominant focus on an individual's "sexual and reproductive rights". Incentives to encourage abortion will not be funded under this regulation. However, the actual provision of abortion services will not be excluded. The draft regulation concerns funding for "sexual and reproductive health services" in developing countries. Although it does not define the scope of these services, they are understood to include abortion. It is therefore for the country receiving funds under this regulation to decide, in accordance with its domestic legislation, whether or not the services to be funded include abortion*. Abortion takes the life of an unborn child, and is therefore ethically unacceptable. We are deeply concerned that funds from the EU budget might be used for abortion services under this regulation. We trust there is reason to believe that there will be no discrimination against development and health organisations which do not provide abortion in funding decisions under this regulation. * "European Community development co-operation is always implemented within the legal framework of the partner country concerned." Poul Nielson, European Commissioner for Development, Letter to Members of the European Parliament, 13 January 2003 ENDS

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