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18 / 04 / 2008 - Council of Europe votes to decriminalise abortion
Tough lobbying by pro-life representatives failed to stop a pro-abortion resolution from being approved in the Council of Europe (CoE) in Strasbourg.
Mr Nigel Dodds, MP and MLA for Belfast North, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, who attended the debate on behalf of the All Party Pro-Life Group of the Northern Ireland Assembly , said: "It's a sad day for the unborn child in Europe, but the fight goes on."
The resolution calls on member countries which, like Ireland, still ban abortion, to decriminalise it and make it available to all women.
From the 47 member states of the CoE, only Malta, Andorra, Poland and Ireland still completely ban abortion. In a shameful attack on these pro-life countries, the Council of Europe voted to uphold this appalling resolution against human life.
At the end of the three-and-a-half-hour-long debate, considered to be one of the longest in the Councilís history, the resolution was adopted with 102 votes in favour, 69 against and 14 abstentions.
The drafter of the resolution, Austrian Socialist MP Gisela Wurm, said the aim of the resolution was to give women their rights.
However, pro-life representatives lobbied hard to try to convince everyone that abortion is also about the rights of the unborn child and not only those of women.
The MPs who spoke against the resolution were the Maltese, the Italian, the Irish and the Polish representatives.
Although this resolution has no legal bearing on any member state of the CoE, there is deep concern at the long-term repercussions, as the pressure now placed upon Ireland and the other pro-life member states to legalise abortion is now greater than it has ever been.