Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Estrela Report back in the Parliament:How Interests of International Lobbyists, Ideological Agendas become more important than Democracy, Human Rights and Freedom

On October 22, the majority of the European Parliament voted to refer back the controversial Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (also called the Estrela report) back to the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM Committee).

The reason behind the referral was that the text as presented at that time was considered to be unacceptable and revision was recommended in order to seek consensus among political groups. Surprisingly, however, the Estrela report is back again on the agenda of the plenary session in the European Parliament, with just some minor changes.

Not only were the serious concerns expressed by the democratic majority of the Parliament rejected by the supporters of the Report, but the Chair of the FEMM Committee breached the Rules of Procedures to avoid any amendments being tabled in the Committee and before the plenary vote.
 
Who is ruling in Europe? The ideological agenda of certain Pro-Choice movements, supported by the interests of international lobby organizations; or the supporters of the protection of Human Rights and Dignity, Freedom and Democracy (trying to protect doctors, medical staff, hospitals, parents and children)?
 
The vote that will take place in the European Parliament today is therefore most of all a test of how strong or weak democracy is in the decision-making process within the European Parliament.  Please find here an analysis

No amendments, no debates.
After the report was referred back to the FEMM Committee, the Chair of this Committee has refused to open the text for tabling of amendments before asking for a second vote to be taken on the same text. This is clearly against the advice of the Parliament's Legal Service and in breach of Rule 195. Consequently, just a few minor changes were allowed and nothing substantial has been changed. 

This “revised” text, as adopted in the FEMM was made available to the Members in their own language only AFTER the deadline to table amendments for today’s plenary vote. Therefore there were no individual amendments to the text!
 
Nevertheless, two alternative resolutions have been tabled (Amendment 1 and 2), which are acceptable and protect life or subsidiarity. Therefore, these amendments will hopefully be voted, otherwise this report should be rejected. Even if you only take into consideration how undemocratic this procedure had been and how the decision of the Parliament has been neglected deliberately!
 
International Lobby vs. Demonstrations
Meanwhile, concerned parents, citizens and constituents protested against the Estrela resolution. The sole supporters of the Estrela resolution – i.e. the signatories of this declaration - are exclusively institutional stakeholders (Brussels based lobbyists). The signatories will be the very first organisms taking profit of the new budget lines for abortion and SRHR services the EU Commission will settle on the ground of the Estrela resolution. In other words the institutional lobbyists need the Estrela report to improve their own public funding. It is therefore no surprise at all that these institutional lobbyists are in favor of the Estrela report.
 
These international lobbyists do not give any answer to the large number of critics. They try just to frame the protest against Estrela as organized by a “religious minority”. However, Eurostat’s figures and statistics clearly show that 370 Mio out of 500 Mio citizens officially belong to a recognized church or religion. Christians are officially a majority in Europe and as citizens they are fully entitled to defend their policy options. Christian citizens are not second class citizens!
 
Therefore, the supporters of the Estrela report want to avoid debates and amendments. The ideological pro-choice agendas and the interests of their befriended international lobby organizations should go beyond democracy, beyond respecting other ideologies or worldviews, beyond human rights to life and freedom of conscience, beyond the principle of subsidiarity, and beyond a European Citizenship Initiative that collected 1.8 million signatures to protect the dignity and integrity of the human embryo.
 
According to the European Dignity Watch, this report:
  • infringes the fundamental principle of subsidiarity, because it aims at an EU-intervention where there is no competence for it;
  • curtails freedom of conscience for medical doctors and nurses not to assist unethical procedures contrary to their conscience;
  • promotes a “right to abortion” and a serious limitation of parental rights (parents are reduced to “other stakeholders”) with regards to the sexual education of their children;
  • promotes compulsory aggressive and inappropriate sexual education from primary school onwards.
Let us hope and pray that the majority of the European Parliament will vote today (on the international day for Human Rights) for the protection of Human Rights, Fundamental Freedoms and Democratic principles, and not for ideological agendas based on certain international lobbyists who try to achieve their goals by certain procedural tricks as described here in preparation for the plenary vote.

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