28 maj 2014

Development and women’s rights groups welcome European Commission’s rejection of “One of Us”

Goda nyheter från European Humanist Federation.

The undersigned civil society organisations welcome the European Commission’s decision announced today to take no further action on the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) “One of Us”.

The “One of Us” initiative could have had catastrophic consequences for maternal and global health in low- and middle income countries. In standing firmly against it, the Commission has reaffirmed its support for, and international commitments to, maternal health, family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) more broadly.

“While recognising the importance of the newly-created ECI tool in bringing ordinary citizens closer to the EU institutions, the Commission’s response has taken into account the devastating impact that “One of Us” could have had on the EU’s development objectives,” commented Neil Datta, Secretary of the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development. “I am glad the Commission has listened to the global consensus supporting the 222 million women in developing countries who want and need voluntary family planning simply to exercise the human right to have the size of family they would like, rather than to the religious zealots who organised “One of Us,” Mr Datta continued.

The “One of Us” campaign, spearheaded by ultra-conservative, anti-choice movements, demanded that the Commission cut off all funding for research on human embryonic stem cells and funding for any organisations that are involved in the provision of indirect or direct abortion or “abortion-related” services in low and middle-income countries. This would have had devastating consequences for women’s health and lives and forced women to seek unsafe abortion services. Already an estimated 47,000 women die each year from complications related to unsafe abortion. Nearly all of these unsafe abortions occur in low- and middle-income countries.

“We saw in the European elections this month a rise in support for socially conservative and anti-choice political groups who wish to roll back the progress made on gender empowerment and women’s rights. With its statement today, the Commission has set an important benchmark for EU support to family planning and SRHR,” said Vicky Claeys of IPPFEN. “This confirms 100% the Commission’s longstanding commitment to the ongoing international talks on a post-2015 development framework to replace the Millennium Development Goals,” she added.

In the field of R&D, Pierre Galand, President of the European Humanist Federation said: “By rejecting “One of Us”, the Commission also clearly renewed its support for human embryonic stem cells research which remains one of the most promising fields for regenerative medicine, reproductive health and genetic disease research.”


For more information about One of Us and EHF mobilisation, see here.

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