Europe's Bishops Oppose a So-called European Right to Abortion

February 16, 2022

The Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (Comece) has just expressed its “deep concern” at the French plan to include abortion in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. This reaction contrasts significanlty with the remarks made a few days earlier by the president of the same commission.

Jean Guitton once reported this humorous trait of Pope Paul VI, thus justifying his way of governing the Church: “to steer a boat, you have two oars; then, to steer the boat well, row to the right, a little later, row to the left.”

This is the navigation technique which the Presidency of the Commission of the Episcopates of the European Union (Comece) seems to be emulating.

Indeed, less than a week after speaking out in favor of changing the Church's teaching on homosexual relations, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich has just signed a text - on behalf of Comece, which he chairs – aimed at denouncing the inclusion of abortion in the Charter of Rights of the European Union (EU).

On January 19, 2022, in fact, the French Head of State, when taking over the Presidency of the Council of the EU, listed among the objectives he had set himself, a “more explicit recognition of the right to abortion.”

This project aroused, on February 8, the “deeply concerned” reaction of Comece, the structure whose the mission is to make the link between the Catholic Church in Europe and the European institutions, who recalled in its press release that: “there is no right to abortion recognized in European or international law.”

“Trying to change this by introducing a so-called right to abortion in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU not only goes against fundamental European beliefs and values, but would constitute an unfair law, devoid of ethical basis and destined to be a cause of perpetual conflict between EU citizens.”

Incidentally, the signatories of the press release recall that “the help and assistance necessary for women in distress and for their unborn child” remain at the heart of the Church's mission, but also constitute “a duty to be exercised by our societies.”

It is indeed difficult to claim to defend the natural law while being open to an ethical revision with heavy consequences: “I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation at the base of the teaching on homosexual relations is no longer adequate,” the Luxembourg cardinal was not afraid to affirm, on February 6, during an interview with KNA.

The fact remains that Emmanuel Macron's proposal has little chance of succeeding, because it would require a revision of the treaties, which would involve the unanimity of the Member States. It is hard to see Hungary or Poland rallying to such a project.