Women’s rights ” “and the value of life

An EP resolution highlights gender disparity whilst unexpectedly mentioning recourse to abortion " "

Authentic, concrete equality between men and women, that involves rights, freedoms and obligations is still a long way in the future, in Europe and in the rest of the world. Immense distances often separate young girls and women from the “planet man”. These distances – not “differences” but real and true forms of discrimination – are accurately listed in the resolution adopted on March 10 by the European Parliament, which includes – among the areas marked by the greatest gender unbalance – the wage gap, the possibility of having a career, economic independence, unbalances between professional and family life, parental leave. Among the most serious problems violence is still at the forefront, notably domestic violence – physical and psychological alike. Moreover, sexist attitudes linger on in the workplace, across the media and in advertising. “Policies need to be changed with the goal of achieving equal treatment between men and women”, is the message of the European Parliament. MEPs gave the green light to a non-legislative resolution, thus without binding value for EU Member Countries but with a “political” value, highlighting the sensitivity of the majority in favour in the European Parliament. “Change” in laws, customs, private and public behaviour “is too slow and women’s rights are suffering the effects of this. But the majority in favour of the resolution shows that the European Parliament backs the fight for wage equality, efforts to combat violence against women, agree on maternity leave proposals and safeguard access to abortion”, said Belgian rapporteur Marc Tarabella. It should be pointed out that the non-legislative resolution passed by 441 votes to 205 with 52 abstentions. Thus, while the representatives of European citizens diligently point out that for a significant number of women life is harder and hampered by obstacles compared to men, the question is which is the “added value” of a possible “right to abortion” in terms of gender equality. Perhaps, the formulation of the resolution leaves room for controversial interpretations. Indeed, number 47 states in clear terms that the Parliament “maintains that women must have control over their sexual and reproductive health and rights, not least by having ready access to contraception and abortion”. There are also other equivocal passages such as n. 45 that points out: “various studies show that abortion rates in countries in which abortion is legal are similar to those in countries in which it is banned, and are often even higher in the latter, (World Health Organisation, 2014)”. Thus the EP vote reiterated with an amendment that health policies along with those on sexual and reproductive rights, including sexual education, fall within the provinces of member Countries. It’s the principle of subsidiarity, which until the abortion drift is solved, has at least established a set of principles regarding responsibilities at national level. Resolutions on gender equality issues recur once a year. But the European Parliament is set to adopt another resolution on March 12 on “human rights and world democracy” where, needless say, the theme of abortion is once again on the agenda. Said document, commendable as a whole, consists of some fifty pages, and it addresses issues such as fundamental human rights, human trafficking, the defence of the freedom of speech and religious belief, it condemns torture and capital punishment. A broad chapter is dedicated to LGBT rights while the knot of voluntary pregnancy interruption re-emerges here and there, formulated in such a way so as not to appear a tragedy, as it has always been, but a possibility, if not a right, to ensure it to women as an emblem of their freedom. Moreover, the path of freedom doesn’t pass over other human beings – in this case the conceived child – nor through the solitude and pain of women forced to renounce the child they carry in their wombs.

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