On July 10, 2023, the European Parliament approved the proposal for a directive of the European Union on combating violence against women and domestic violence. Initially tabled in March 2022 by the European Commission, this text provides for the creation of new offenses (such as cyber-violence), tailored support for victims and enhanced coordination and cooperation at EU level.
Unfortunately, the directive also includes provisions on abortion. Recital 50 explicitly mentions abortion, and article 28 stipulates that states must guarantee safe and legal access to abortion for victims of violence. Although the EU institutions' involvement in the field of abortion is not new, the fact remains that this subject does not fall within the EU's sphere of competence. Indeed, under the principle of conferral, which governs the EU's actions, it can only act "within the limits of the competences conferred upon it by the Member States in the Treaties to attain the objectives set out therein." (Article 5 TEU). However, the Member States have not conferred any competence to the EU in relation to abortion. Furthermore, as we explained in this video, the inclusion of abortion in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is doomed to failure.
According to the directive, preventing or attempting to prevent an abortion would constitute violence. This qualification ignores the many dangers of abortion, recognized by many doctors. Indeed, abortions can cause significant damage to the uterus, leading to infertility or the need for surgical intervention. It is also worth noting that the risk of premature delivery increases by more than 36% after an abortion. Psychological suffering exist too: the risk of developing certain psychological illnesses such as depression increases by 81% after an abortion. So it seems shocking to describe preventing or attempting to prevent an abortion as "violence," while ignoring the violence women suffer as a result of abortion.
For now, trialogue negotiations on the text of this directive are taking place between representatives of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the EU. This is an opportunity to change the text by denouncing the manipulative use of violence against women to promote unrestricted, barrier-free access to abortion. It is also important to denounce the EU's lack of transparency in the legislative process for this directive, which is contrary to one of its key operating principles.
The directive should remain true to its objective: to protect women against all forms of violence, without omitting the violence of abortion.
 American Association of Por-Life obstetricians and gynecologists, Caring for Both:A Curbside Consult Series, Episode 1: What Is Life-Affirming Healthcare?, available here: https://aaplog.org/caring-for-both-a-curbside-consult-series/
 Article 15 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.