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Parliamentary questions
16 March 2012
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Sophia in 't Veld (ALDE) , Antonyia Parvanova (ALDE) , Françoise Castex (S&D) , Véronique Mathieu (PPE) , Norbert Neuser (S&D) , Sirpa Pietikäinen (PPE) and Jean Lambert (Verts/ALE)

 Subject: Unsafe abortions in the European Union

A recent study published in the medical journal The Lancet(1) determined that 49 % of all abortions performed globally were unsafe. An abortion is unsafe if it is performed by an individual without the requisite skills, or in an environment below minimum medical standards, or both. In another study, the World Health Organisation designates unsafe abortions at a global level as a ‘preventable pandemic’, given that 20 million unsafe abortions take place every year(2). Unsafe abortion rates within the European Union vary greatly, ranging from virtually zero in those Member States in which abortion services are legal and accessible to up to 13 % in east European countries. A total of 43 abortions are carried out per 1 000 women in eastern Europe, five of which are unsafe.

Does the Commission consider unsafe abortions to be a health risk? How does it view the existence of this preventable public health problem within the EU and in neighbouring countries?

Does the Commission consider sexual and reproductive health to be an integral part of public health policies? Can the Commission clarify whether the proposed Regulation on establishing a Health for Growth Programme for the period 2014-2020 (COM(2011) 0709), in particular the objective of ‘increasing access to better and safer healthcare for citizens’, covers access to sexual and reproductive health services, including safe and legal abortion? Is the Commission planning to complement national health policies that do not offer sufficient protection from unsafe abortions(3)? If not, why not?

Does the Commission agree, as concluded in the article published in The Lancet, that it is essential to provide access to safe and legal abortion and to eliminate taboos on sexual and reproductive health in order to reduce the overall number of abortions?

(3)Article 168(1) TFEU.

 OJ C 240 E, 21/08/2013
Last updated: 30 March 2012Legal notice