American Pro-Life Movement Inspires European Action Against Abortion

The success of the American pro-life movement is inspiring European activists to restrict abortion in individual nations throughout the continent and to press the European Commission to introduce an ethics clause into its regulations that prevents the EU from funding any activity that destroys or involves the destruction of human life at the embryonic or fetal stage.

As reported by Sarah Wheaton at Politico, young European pro-life activists have turned to the United States, where their counterparts have forced the subject of abortion into the public conversation. American pro-life organizations are providing strategic training as well as inspiration to help Europe’s activists push for changes throughout the continent.

“Let’s face it, the world is getting smaller every day,” said Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, who was in Italy to speak at several events for international pro-life activists prior to Sunday’s March for Life.

Any new abortion rights in Europe would be a “distinct threat to American law,” Yoest said, because they give ammunition to domestic judges looking for an international consensus.

In just several years, the March for Life in Rome has grown substantially from 800 participants three years ago to 40,000 marchers last year. The march’s organizers are planning for over 50,000 on Sunday.

Similarly, Lila Rose, president of Live Action, spent part of April in London training young pro-life activists to do media exposés of abortion providers, much like those her organization conducted to chronicle the “inhuman” treatment of women and their babies as a result of abortion.

“They are looking to see what has worked in the United States,” Rose said about her counterparts in Europe.

Terrence McKeegan, an American attorney who has consulted with pro-life organizations around the world, said, “Until recently, the way that Europeans looked at everything was from a very academic, philosophical perspective.”

“It’s not enough to just have good ideas and have the right ideas, but you have to have a very practical plan, a very strategic plan,” McKeegan added.

Though in Europe it is still the decision of individual countries to determine the legality of abortion and up to what point in a pregnancy abortions may be performed, more nations have been passing abortion restrictions at the insistence of pro-life activists. Spain, for example, had eased abortion laws four years ago but is now on the verge of enacting nearly an entire ban on the procedure.

Pro-life activists, however, have not only been fighting abortion at the national level but also through the courts and commissions of the European Union, which is likely to have an impact on all 28 member nations.

As observed by Grégor Puppinck writing at Aleteia, the European Citizens’ Initiative One of Us, a “mechanism of participatory democracy introduced by the Lisbon Treaty,” has enabled “one million EU citizens to submit a legislative or policy project to European institutions.”

One of Us has pressed the European Commission to introduce an ethics clause into its regulations that explicitly bars the EU from funding any activity that destroys or involves the destruction of human life at the embryonic or fetal stage. The regulation would especially apply to European funding for research involving the destruction of human embryos, as well as financing abortions as a means of aid to developing nations.

Within the past year, One of Us has raised nearly two million signatures, making it the largest petition in the history of European institutions.

Puppinck, a representative of One of Us, writes:

This Initiative is based on the scientific fact that every individual life is an uninterrupted continuum from conception to death. It is the public testimony of millions of European citizens’ consciences who recognize humanity and individuality in every human being from conception, and who require from the EU, within the limits of its powers, to respect the life from conception. Whether in research, industry or development, no true progress can be made based on the negation, exploitation and destruction of humanity at the beginning of a human beings existence.

While European laws recognize the human dignity of the unborn, the EU still finances biotechnological practices that involve the destruction of embryos and funds abortion in developing countries, even where it is forbidden, in the name of population control.

The One of Us legislative proposal has already been validated by the European Commission, which must decide by May 28 how it intends to take action on it.


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