Current crisis should not hamper sexual and reproductive health rights, says committee  

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The current economic crisis should not be an excuse for decreasing quality and reduce access to health services, particularly for women as this would negatively impact their sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), said members of the Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee. Member states are asked to improve sexual education and guarantee equal access to contraception and safe legal abortion, says a non-legislative resolution passed on Wednesday.

"This report comes at a very important timing. The current political and economic context threatens the respect of the SRHR. Due to the current financial crisis and economic downturn and the related cuts in the public budgets there is a tendency among Member States to accelerate the privatisation of health services and decrease access to and quality level of health services. Additionally, very conservative positions regarding SRHR have arisen all around Europe. Given these attacks, it is more critical than ever that the European Parliament stands up for sexual and reproductive rights as human rights and provides a useful summary of the current state of play of SRHR at the European level", said rapporteur Edite Estrela (S&D, PT).

Gender and age appropriate sexuality education

MEPs of the committee believe that sexuality education would promote responsible behaviour in family planning. Well informed and educated couples or young people, will on the basis of good information and knowledge responsibly choose number and timing of children.

Equal access to contraception and safe legal abortion

MEPs stressed the importance to teach young people how to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Better prevention, information and financial assistance for couples in need are promoted as tools to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

They underline that they do not support abortion as method of family planning, but recommend having legal abortion services within the public health systems. They also call on Member States to promote scientific research on male and female controlled methods of contraception to facilitate the burden sharing of contraceptive responsibility.

Procedure: non-legislative resolution

In the chair: Edite Estrela

Vote in plenary: October