2 Vatican Aides Assail European Resolution on Abortion

Parliamentary Measure Undercuts Rights, They Say

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 11, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Two Church authorities on bioethics and the family have taken to task the abortion resolution approved July 3 by the European Parliament.



The resolution seeks to impose abortion on member countries of the European Union as well as on nations applying to enter the Union.

Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and Bishop Elio Sgreccia, vice president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, expressed their concerns over the resolution in articles in L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's semiofficial newspaper.

Though the parliamentary resolution lacks legal force, it carries a certain political weight in the Continent.

Cardinal López Trujillo said that what is at stake is consistency in the proclamation and defense of fundamental rights, the first of which is the right to life. This right is included in the U.N. Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man, he noted. It is threatened, with the approval of abortion, by all kinds of interpretations and exceptions, he warned.

Article 12 of the resolution "recommends that in order to protect health and women's reproductive rights, abortion should be legal, safe and accessible to all." The very concept of "legality" is weakened, because "a law that allows the elimination of an innocent can never be considered just," the cardinal explained.

In regard to the term "safe abortion," the cardinal said that such "safety" refers only to risks to the mother's health, whose "rights" prevail over those of the conceived.

Article 6 requests governments to promote "Emergency contraception [...] as a normal practice in the realm of health, sexual and reproductive care." But this conceals the fact that in this case "it is not about real contraception, but about a clearly abortifacient intervention, directed against the human embryo, whose implantation is impeded," the cardinal observed.

For his part, Bishop Sgreccia contended that "the document seeks to favor behavior that affects personal ethics, the family, survival itself, and the unborn's right to life."

"When we speak of ethics, we do not try to limit the meaning to Catholic and religious morality, which also has a right to be respected in a true democracy, but we speak of natural ethics," he said.

In countries whose laws defend the values attacked in this resolution, doubts have arisen about the appropriateness of adhering to a Europe "that threatens to impose 'its' moral conception of life and of man-woman relations," the bishop continued.

Cardinal López Trujillo said the European Parliament's resolution "on health and sexual and reproductive rights" presents all together a "'new morality' in relation to political objectives, and represents a challenge to the truth of human procreation."

In this connection, he expressed agreement with the statements of parliamentarian Elisabeth Montfort on the resolution: "It is curious that the right of reproduction consists of a catalogue of procedures that impede, precisely, reproduction itself."

In regard to abortion, Bishop Sgreccia added, the encyclical "Evangelium Vitae" states that it continues to be a "crime," and "this is valid not only for believers, but also for any conscience enlightened by right reason."