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Abortion beyond EU’s remit – Equality Commissioner

Dalli said the European Union had no legal control over abortion laws in its member states and that it was a matter for national legislatures.
Olivier Hoslet/PAP/EPA

EU Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli has told the European Parliament that the EU does not have jurisdiction over abortion laws.

Dalli’s comments came during a debate on abortion in Poland triggered by the near-total ban on the practice now enforced in the country.

The ban, which came into force following a Constitutional Tribunal ruling, resulted in mass protests across the country, and garnered huge international media attention.

Dalli said the European Union had no legal control over abortion laws in its member states and that it was a matter for national legislatures.

She added however, that when member states exercise their legal powers they must respect fundamental rights as they apply within the context of their constitution and international law.

She noted that the ruling’s had resulted in almost a complete ban on abortions in Poland because terminations can no longer be conducted in the event of serious and irreversible foetal damage, removing the legal right used in 98 percent of abortion cases in Poland.

The debate at the European Parliament was organised jointly by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality.


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