S&D MEPs call on the Council to take a clear stance on women’s rights and reproductive health

S&D MEPs call on the Council to take a clear stance on women’s rights and reproductive health

S&D Euro MEPs today secured a majority for a resolution calling on the Council to adopt a clear-cut stance on sexual and reproductive health and rights in order to safeguard fundamental rights and women’s rights.

The resolution to the Council for the 61st UN Commission on the Status of Women was drafted by S&D MEP Marie Arena and EPP MEP Constance Le Grip. It calls on European governments to assume their responsibilities at the international level and demonstrate leadership in the wake of US president Donald Trump’s ban on funding for NGOs providing family-planning services and information on abortion.

S&D Group negotiator Marie Arena MEP, said:

"It is thanks to the initiative of the Socialists and Democrats supported by an alliance of progressive forces in the European Parliament – and against the strong opposition of reactionary positions from other forces – that we use this opportunity to call on the EU and its member states to clearly condemn Trump's 'Global gag' rule. The policies recently adopted by US president Donald Trump directly attack the principles underpinning the EU and the UN in terms of gender equality. We strongly condemn the Trump administration's decision to ban the funding of NGOs that practise or recommend abortion. It constitutes an attack against the rights of women and will have disastrous repercussions on programmes combating HIV, promoting mental health and child health.

"Sexual and reproductive health and rights are essential for women's economic empowerment. We Europeans cannot limit ourselves to condemning Trump's economic protectionism and keep silent when it comes to women's rights! EU governments must safeguard fundamental rights, as human rights are also women's rights! As the 61st session of the UN commission on the status of women approaches, the European Parliament calls on the Council to fulfil its role within the international community and act in favour of equality between men and women."

S&D Group spokeswoman on women's rights and gender equality, Iratxe García Pérez MEP, added:

"With this resolution the Parliament has clearly highlighted its priorities to the Council with a view to the 61st UN Commission on the Status of Women taking place in March. It has stressed the need for equal access to education, healthcare, decent work and decision making, equal pay and the fight against gender-based violence. We also call on the Council to translate these commitments into concrete funding to support the economic empowerment of women and foster equality between women and men."

In parallel with the resolution, the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament today addressed a letter to the heads of governments expressing their condemnation of Trump’s decision to block international NGOs from receiving US funding.

The S&Ds call on them to send a strong signal and actively support the #SheDecides initiative by compensating for the funding gap created by the withdrawal of the US from its international responsibilities as a donor.

The head of the S&D Dutch delegation, Paul Tang MEP, said on the #SheDecides initiative:

“The initiative of the Dutch minister Ploumen deserves all the support it can get. The executive order by Donald Trump will put the health of millions of women at risk. We will have to do all it takes to collect funds for healthcare workers in developing countries.”

Background information on the #SheDecides initiative:

•    #SheDecides is a global fundraising initiative.
•    It aims at ensuring that women and girls worldwide are in charge of their own bodies.
•    It was launched by the Dutch minister Lilianne Ploumen following the decision which prohibits US government funding of NGOs that provide family-planning services and access to or information on abortions.