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Emmanuel Macron’s stated intention to update the European Charter of Fundamental Rights to include the recognition of a right to abortion is causing great concern among European bishops.
“Since its beginnings, the process of European integration has always been supported and accompanied closely by the Church,” said the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), chaired by Luxembourg Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich.
While the European bishops agree on the importance of defending and promoting the values of the European Union, they are keen to stress that “one of the main values is
the respect for the dignity of every human person in every stage of his or her life, especially in situations of complete vulnerability, as is the case of an unborn child.”
A law “devoid of ethical foundation”
“From a legal perspective there is no recognized right to abortion in European
or international law,” COMECE said. “Attempting to change this by introducing a supposed right to abortion in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, not only goes against fundamental European beliefs and values, but would be an unjust law, devoid of an ethical foundation and destined to be a cause of perpetual conflict among the citizens of the EU.”
“President Macron’s proposal to insert this so-called right can in no way be seen as a new lease on life to our core set of rights,” continued the Bishops.
Going a step further, COMECE states that “European integration should always foster and promote respect for different identities and avoid ideological impositions.” In this sense, “the proposal of President Macron to insert this so-called right can in no way be considered as ‘breathing new life into our basic rights,'” the bishops said.
Since December 2009 and the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the Charter of Fundamental Rights has the same legal force as the treaties. It is therefore binding on the Member States and any citizen can invoke it if a European text does not respect these rights. To modify this charter, the unanimity of the Member States is necessary.