European Parliament adopts the Sandbaek Report almost unanimously
The European parliament's development committee this week adopted the pro-abortion Sandbæk report almost unanimously. In order for the full parliament to be allowed a debate on the report and to pass amendments, it was necessary for only four of the 63 committee members to vote against the report but only two members opposed it. Others abstained or were absent at the time of the vote. MEPs will therefore only be able to vote on the entire report next month. If the report is approved, all EU member states will be obliged to fund abortions overseas through their EU contributions because EU regulations take precedence over national law. This includes Ireland, which has a pro-life constitution, as well as the pro-life accession countries such as Malta and Poland when they become full EU members. European pro-lifers are being urged to ask their MEPs to vote against the report in its entirety and to contact their national governments to urge ministers to do all they can in the decision-making framework of the EU, particularly in the council of ministers, to amend the regulation. [Euro-Fam and SPUC, 21 January]
The European Parliament's Development Committee has postponed its vote on the Sandbaeck report 4/12/2002
The European Parliament's Development Committee has postponed its vote on the Sandbaek report (the blueprint for the new international aid regulation) for the third time. The vote had been scheduled for Monday, 2 December 2002, but it has now been re-scheduled for Tuesday, 17 December. However, the vote in Parliament's plenary session is still scheduled for Thursday, 16 January 2003, although this date now looks doubtful.
This certainly means that MEPs, government Ministers and Ambassadors have to be contacted by those who want them to resist these unacceptable violations of national sovereignty. (abortion is not an EU competence).
This delay has arisen because the EU Council of Ministers was unable to reach agreement on the most controversial aspects of the new regulation, in particular whether it should allow funding for abortions in developing countries. EU officials had hoped that the Council and European Parliament would be able to agree on the text of the regulation so that the process of finalising the regulation could be fast-tracked. However, it has proved impossible to reach an agreement because pro-lifers and pro-abortionists are at loggerheads. In the case of Ireland, this is in clear contradiction of its pro-life constitution. As the regulation would also form part of the "acquis communautaire" (body of EU law), pro-life accession countries, such as Malta and Poland, would also be obliged to fund abortions.
According to a member of the European Parliament, Irish taxes may soon contribute to a European Union initiative to provide abortions throughout the developing world, even though abortion is unconstitutional in Ireland.
Dana Rosemary Scallon, Connacht/Ulster MEP, has stated that "the Irish government can no longer remain silent on this matter. The Irish people deserve to be informed and consulted, and have the right to decide in accordance with their conscience and their constitution, if they want their tax money to fund a compulsory EU programme which will impose abortion, without debate, on the poorest countries."
Scallon is referring to the Sandbaek report, a European parliament document intended to be the blueprint for EU international aid over the next five years. The report directs that "the [European] community shall provide financial assistance and appropriate expertise with a view to promoting the recognition of reproductive and sexual rights...and universal access to a comprehensive range of safe and reliable reproductive and sexual health services." In population control parlance, reproductive services include abortion.
The report envisions a dramatic increase in EU funding for reproductive services. EU spending for reproductive services would rise by at least 72 per cent, and perhaps as much as 300 per cent, even though total EU international aid during the same period will rise by only 1 or 2 per cent. In fact, to offset increased spending on reproductive services, the EU may be forced to eliminate funding for elementary education in the developing world. Marie Stopes International, an organization that runs abortion clinics throughout the developing world, has lobbied heavily for this increase in spending for reproductive services.
A vote on the Sandbaek report within the European Parliament has been postponed a number of times, as pro-life parliamentarians have attempted to add amendments to the document. One amendment sought to establish that abortion was not a reproductive service, while another sought assurance that EU money would not be used for abortions. Both amendments have been vigorously contested, thereby reinforcing the opinion of European pro-life organizations that the report is intended to promote and fund abortion.
Scallon views the report as an assault on the sovereignty of Ireland. It will establish an EU regulation, which is, according to Scallon, "the strongest EU law."
"An EU regulation is directly applicable and binding in all EU Member States without the need for any national implementing legislation or, in this case, even national debate," Scallon said. Thus, Irish taxes could be used for reproductive services and "safe" abortions, regardless of Irish opinion on the matter and regardless of Ireland's own laws respecting unborn life.
This is not the first time that Ireland's membership within the EU has seemed to run counter to its constitution. During this year's UN Child Summit, for example, the EU, including Ireland, fought for reproductive health services for adolescents, even after a Canadian delegate admitted that reproductive services included abortion. Ireland was unwilling to break EU consensus on the issue.
Fru Ulla Margrethe SANDBÆK
Denmark : JuniBevægelsen
Bât. Altiero Spinelli
60, rue Wiertz / Wiertzstraat 60
Fax: +32 (0)2 284 9169