News » Event report: Preventing Abortion in Europe, Legal Framework & Social Policies

Monday, June 26, 2017

Event report: Preventing Abortion in Europe, Legal Framework & Social Policies

A very well attended event in Brussels at 22 June in cooperation with Sallux, ECLJ and COMECE as well as other partner-organisations focused at how abortion can be prevented and reduced across Europe. The widespread use of abortion is a social problem and a matter of public health that affects the whole society and engages our future. The purpose of this seminar is to identify good practices for effective abortion prevention policies, particularly among young people.


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. The experts in the event listed many examples of how abortion can be reduced by effective care for pregnant women before and after birth, support for combining care and education as well as care and work.


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).

Read the final synthesis of the seminar and all presentations here.