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BHA celebrates defeat of anti-choice European Citizens’ Initiative

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has today welcomed a decision by the European Commission to reject the ‘One of Us’ European’s Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), organised by religious conservatives in Europe, which aimed to end funding for human embryonic stem cell research, as well as abortion-related services in low and middle-income countries.

The decision coincides with this year’s International Day of Action for Women’s Health, which falls on 28 May each year.

The BHA was one of numerous organisations which signed a joint statement to the European Commission, urging it not to act on the ECI by setting out firmly that it would lead to disastrous loss of life for women across low and middle-income countries, and that its aims were antithetical to the EU’s wider development objectives. It is estimated that 47,000 women already die each year from unsafe abortions, primarily in low and middle-income countries.

Commenting on the result, BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal said, ‘This is a great victory for women throughout Europe, and as well as for the various pro-science, pro-choice, and women’s health organisations which stood up to the hardline religious conservatives behind this European Citizens’ Initiative. This is a wonderful decisive action to ring in International Day of Action for Women’s Health. However, we must all remain vigilant about the threat of anti-choice activists, who will likely continue to be very active both in the new European Parliament and in possible legal challenges to this decision.’


For further information or comment, contact BHA Head of Public Affairs, Pavan Dhaliwal at or on 0773 843 5059.

See the European Commission’s press release on its response to the ECI:

Read the background briefing document prepared by the Wellcome Trust:

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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