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Religious lobby groups block report on sexual and reproductive rights in European Parliament

A report calling for universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, and for decent Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) for all young people, has been blocked in the European Parliament. As a result of the vote which took place yesterday, the Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights has been referred back to the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, where it was voted through at its last reading. The British Humanist Association (BHA) and the European Humanist Federation (EHF) both support the Report’s recommendations, and are disappointed that its progress has been stalled.

The Report calls for universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights throughout Europe. It covers issues such as abortion rights, LGBTI rights and young people’s entitlement to decent SRE. It calls for access to safe and legal abortion services, comprehensive education on sexuality, teaching about negative LGBTI stereotypes and teaching on the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections. It also recommends against the mandatory sterilisation of transgender persons, calls for universal access to medically assisted procreation for single women and lesbian couples, and calls for the right to access non-discriminatory information about sexual orientation and gender identity.

Pavan Dhaliwal, BHA Head of Public Affairs, commented ‘This is an excellent report which aims to ensure that young people across Europe are entitled to decent and age-appropriate SRE, that women can access safe and legal abortion services, and which pushes to strengthen LGBTI rights. Unfortunately, its progress has been stalled by yesterday’s vote because socially conservative religious groups have been frantically lobbying MEPs to reject it. These socially conservative groups wish to deny women, LGBTI people, and young people in general their right to access sexual and reproductive health services, and their right to decent Sex and Relationships Education. They are trying to hold back the advances in human rights and personal freedoms which have taken place in Europe over the past few decades, and they are fighting a losing battle.’

Notes

For further comment or information contact Pavan Dhaliwal, Head of Public Affairs at pavan@humanism.org.uk or on 0773 843 5059.

Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality – Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A7-2013-306&language=EN

MEPs who voted for and against sending the Report back to the Committee: http://www.lgbt-ep.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/RCV-Vote-on-referral-back-to-FEMM.pdf

Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on PSHE and Sex and Relationships Education: http://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/schools-and-education/school-curriculum/pshe-and-sex-and-relationships-education/

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

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