When: Thursday, June 22, 2017 10:15 - Thursday, June 22, 2017 16:00
Where: COMECE, Square de Meeûs, 19/1 B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
ABORTION IS A PUBLIC HEALTH PROBLEM
Every year in Europe, about 4 million women end their pregnancies; more than 30 million abortions were performed since 2010, representing a quarter of all births (Guttmacher Institute, Datta Center).
Abortion has considerable and undeniable cultural, demographic, economic and social consequences. 42% of women who had an abortion before the age of 25 go through a depression. Half of the women who had an abortion when they were minor suffer from suicidal thoughts. Women having had an abortion are three times more likely to suffer physical, mental or sexual abuse than women who went through their pregnancies.
IT IS POSSIBLE TO REDUCE THE RECOURSE TO ABORTION
Abortion is not inevitable; many countries have managed to reduce the abortion rate thanks to prevention policies.
In Italy, for example, the number of abortions fell by 56% between 1982 and 2013, reaching 102,000 i.e. half the number of abortions in France for a country slightly smaller. Yet in Italy, abortion and contraceptive rates are among the lowest in Europe. In Germany, the official number of abortions declined from 135,000 to 99,000 between 2001 and 2015, in Latvia from 13,000 to less than 5,300 between 2004 and 2013, etc.
In the US, the teenage pregnancy rate was reduced by half between 1990 and 2010 thanks to a campaign centred on abstinence to value sexuality and human life, and to make teenagers aware of their responsibilities. The number of high school seniors declaring to be abstainers has doubled from 33% to 66%, causing a reduction of two thirds of abortions among young people, a decline of STDs and an improvement in their emotional and psychological balance.
Many concrete preventative measures need to be implemented, aiming in particular at better educating young people, to help women and empower fathers.
REDUCING THE RECOURSE TO ABORTION SHOULD BE A PRIORITY
Reducing the recourse to abortion is also an obligation contracted in international law. Most of European States have committed themselves to support family, motherhood and children «before as well as after birth» (Convention on the Rights of the Child), to «reduce the recourse to abortion» and to «take appropriate steps to help women avoid abortion» (Cairo Conference). The Council of Europe also called on European states to «promote a more pro-family attitude in public information campaigns and provide counselling and practical support to help women where the reason for wanting an abortion is family or financial pressure.» (PACE, 2008).
10:15 Opening of the session
Fr. Olivier Poquillon, Secretary General of COMECE
10:30 First Session | Social policies and good practices
Chair: David Fieldsend, Chairman of Sallux board
- Risk factors and consequences of abortion; Cherline Louissaint, Esq
- The demographic impact of abortion; (TBD)
- Germany; Petra Cador, PhD
- Italy; Prof. Assuntina Morresi, PhD
- Slovakial; Zuzana Brixova, Esq
- United States; Jordan Sekulow, Esq., ACLJ (TBC)
12:30 Lunch break (provided)
14:00 Second session | Legal framework
Chair: Friederike Ladenburger, Esq., COMECE (TBC)
- The state’s duty to prevent abortion; Grégor Puppink, PhD
- Abortion and conscientious objection; Claire de la Hougue, PhD
- The right for institutions not to perform abortion; Prof. Jean-Pierre Schouppe, PhD
- Abortion and freedom of expression; Christophe Foltzenlogel, ECLJ
- Abortion and eugenics; (TBD)
16:00 Conclusion of the seminar
Grégor Puppinck, ECLJ Director
Interpretation: French and English