European & International News

MEPs call on EU humanitarian aid to be free from US restrictions on abortion

[Brussels, 03 May 2012] The European Women’s Lobby is happy to share this communication from the Global Justice Center about its 12 August 12 campaign, which calls for the option of abortion to be a part of the medical care offered to women raped in armed conflict, and which the EWL has been supporting since last summer.

Dear Partners & Friends of the GJC’s August 12th Campaign,

The GJC’s August 12th campaign to ensure that the option of abortion is a part of the medical care offered to women raped in armed conflict is gathering enormous momentum globally. Our latest exciting update is that on the European Parliament firmly endorsed the principles of the campaign as part of its March 12, 2012 Resolution on Equality between Women and Men. The Resolution calls on EU Member States to segregate their funds from US funds so as to not subject them to the abortion restrictions imposed by the US on humanitarian aid for girls and women raped in armed conflicts.

The Resolution states, in pertinent part:

Reminds the Commission and the Member States of their commitment to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and urges the provision of EU humanitarian aid to be made effectively independent from the restrictions on humanitarian aid imposed by the USA, in particular by ensuring access to abortion for women and girls who are victims of rape in armed conflicts. You can find the complete version of the Resolution here.

And, that’s not all. Two Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament, MEPs McMillan-Scott and Alexander Alvaro wrote directly to President Obama urging that he ensure compliance with the Geneva Conventions by lifting the US abortion ban currently placed on all humanitarian aid for girls and women raped in armed conflict:

“We write to you as concerned Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament, who share a common view that ensuring the rights of persons wounded and sick in armed conflict under the Geneva Conventions is critical to our international legal order we urge you to issue an executive order explicitly lifting the restrictions on abortion services for victims of war, thereby ensuring that US humanitarian aid relieves human suffering.”

Furthermore, support from the European Parliament on this issue also furthers another goal of the August 12th Campaign – to get the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to acknowledge that rape victims in conflict are entitled to abortions as a part of the care due to them under international humanitarian law and take the leadership in ensuring that it is included in their guidelines and field manuals.

We want to take the opportunity and thank you again for all your efforts in this crucial campaign. Don’t stop now. We encourage you to widely distribute the good news in your networks and continue to publicize this issue to make sure that the US Government hears the strong message coming from Europe.

Warm wishes,

Janet Benshoof, President

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