S&Ds reject resolution to allow health and education to be subject to religious choices
The Socialists and Democrats Group today expressed serious concerns about a resolution passed by the European Parliament on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion and belief, which includes unacceptable clauses on education and health.
Said S&D vice-president Véronique De Keyser:
"We have serious concerns about the very reactionary contents of this unacceptable resolution, adopted today by the conservative majority in the European Parliament.
"This resolution would make it impossible to oppose the teaching of creationism in schools. We would be able to do nothing to prevent dangerous or retrogressive religious medical practices.
"As for education, the right of parents to educate their children in accordance with their beliefs, whether religious or otherwise, would include the right to deny any interference in this education, whether from the state or elsewhere, if it goes against their beliefs.
"Fortunately, thanks to progressive forces in the EP, we have avoided the adoption of the paragraph putting women at risk of clashing with the beliefs of their doctors, without their rights being protected. Today, we have rejected the definition of objections of conscience as a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion extended to other morally sensitive matters such as abortion, assisted procreation and euthanasia."
In fact this report is also a protest against the idea of public education and is therefore unacceptable for the Socialists and Democrats."
S&D spokesperson on human rights Richard Howitt accused European conservatives of not giving equal priority to human rights, saying:
"Freedom of religion is a fundamental right and our Group gives its fundamental support to the new EU guidelines.
"But our disagreement with the conservatives is over their attempt to introduce wording to deny women their rights. The challenge to them is to give equal priority to the rights of LGBT people – due to be agreed at the same time."