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Citizens’ enquiries on sexual and reproductive health and rights in the European Union

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Citizens often send messages to the President of the European Parliament (or to the institution’s public portal) expressing their views on current issues and/or requesting action from the Parliament. The Citizens’ Enquiries Unit (AskEP) within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) looks into these issues and replies to the messages, which may sometimes be identical as part of wider public campaigns.

The President of the European Parliament has recently received a large number of messages regarding a non-binding own-initiative report on the ‘situation of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the European Union, in the context of women’s health’. Citizens first began to write to the President on this subject in May 2021, expressing concerns about the draft report, which they saw as threatening the powers of EU countries to regulate access to abortions. The Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality amended the draft report and adopted its report by 27 votes to 6, with 1 abstention on 11 May 2021. In its report, the committee recognised that the EU has no direct powers to deal with sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in EU countries. In addition, it called on EU countries to safeguard the right of all persons to make their own informed choices with regard to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and to ensure that every person has equal access to these services and rights.

Please find below the main points of the reply sent to citizens who took the time to write to the President of the European Parliament on this matter (in English and in French).

Main points made in the reply in English

On 11 May 2021, the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) adopted its report on the situation of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU by 27 votes to 6, with 1 abstention. In doing so, the committee amended the draft report to which you are referring. The report, currently only published in English, will be available here in the other official EU languages in early June 2021. It is an own-initiative, non-binding report.

In the report, the FEMM committee points out that the EU has no direct powers to deal with sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in EU countries. In accordance with Article 168(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, it is the Member States’ responsibility to define national health policies and organise and deliver health services and medical care. The Union complements the actions of its Member States. It encourages them to cooperate and can lend them support.

The FEMM committee report calls on EU countries to safeguard the right of all persons to make their own informed choices with regard to SRHR, and to ensure that every person has equal access to these services and rights. The report also voices concerns about the impact of the Covid‑19 pandemic on access to health services and sexual and reproductive rights.

For more information on the FEMM committee’s standpoint, the European Parliament’s press release of 11 May 2021, entitled ‘EU countries should ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health’, is available to the public.

The committee’s report will be submitted to Parliament in plenary and put to the vote on 23 June 2021. More details on the procedure can be found here. The results will be published in the section Plenary sitting, Votes, Results of votes. To view them, select a date in the ‘Search by date’ calendar located on the right and the results will appear at the very bottom of the minutes page.

The President of the European Parliament is not permitted to give voting instructions to Members of the European Parliament who, under Article 2 of the Statute for Members of the European Parliament, exercise their mandate freely and independently.

Main points made in the reply in French

Le 11 mai 2021, la commission des droits des femmes et de l’égalité des genres (FEMM) du Parlement européen a adopté par 27 voix pour, 6 contre et 1 abstention son rapport sur la situation de la santé et des droits sexuels et génésiques dans l’Union européenne.  Ce faisant, la commission a modifié le projet de rapport auquel vous faites référence. Le rapport, publié pour l’instant uniquement en langue anglaise, sera disponible ici dans les autres langues officielles de l’UE début juin. Il s’agit d’un rapport d’initiative non-contraignant.

Dans le rapport, la commission des droits des femmes et de l’égalité des genres rappelle que l’Union européenne n’a pas de compétence directe en ce qui concerne la santé et des droits sexuels et génésiques (SDSG) dans les pays de l’Union européenne. En effet, conformément à l’article 168, paragraphe 7, du traité sur le fonctionnement de l’Union européenne, c’est aux pays de l’UE qu’il incombe de définir les politiques nationales de santé, y compris l’organisation et la fourniture de services de santé et de soins médicaux. L’Union complète l’action de ses pays membres. Elle encourage la coopération entre eux et peut soutenir leur action.

Le rapport de la commission FEMM invite les pays de l’UE à sauvegarder le droit des personnes à faire un choix informé en ce qui concerne la santé et les droits sexuels et génésiques et à assurer l’égalité d’accès de toute la population à ces services et droits. Par ailleurs, il exprime des préoccupations concernant les effets de la pandémie de coronavirus sur l’accès aux services de santé et droits sexuels et génésiques.

Pour plus d’informations concernant la position de la commission FEMM, vous pouvez consulter le communiqué de presse du Parlement européen du 11 mai 2021 intitulé « Les États membres doivent garantir l’accès universel à la santé sexuelle et génésique ».

Le rapport de la commission va désormais être soumis au Parlement en séance plénière, pour un vote prévu le 23 juin 2021. Vous trouverez  ici plus de détails sur la procédure. Les résultats des votes seront publiés dans la section Séance plénière, Votes, Résultats des votes. Vous pouvez choisir une date dans le calendrier « Recherche par date » à droite et vous trouverez les résultats des votes au fond de la page du procès-verbal.

Le Président du Parlement européen ne peut donner d’instructions de vote aux députés européens qui sont libres et indépendants, comme le prévoit l’article 2 du statut des députés au Parlement européen.

Main points made in the reply in Italian

L’11 maggio 2021 la commissione per i diritti della donna e l’uguaglianza di genere (FEMM) del Parlamento europeo ha approvato la sua relazione sul tema “La situazione della salute sessuale e riproduttiva e relativi diritti nell’Unione europea” con 27 voti favorevoli, 6 contrari e 1 astensione. In tal modo, la commissione ha modificato il progetto di relazione cui Lei fa riferimento. La relazione, per il momento pubblicata solo in lingua inglese, sarà disponibile qui nelle altre lingue ufficiali dell’UE all’inizio di giugno. Si tratta di una relazione d’iniziativa non vincolante.

Nella relazione, la commissione per i diritti della donna e l’uguaglianza di genere ricorda che l’Unione europea non ha alcuna competenza diretta in materia di salute sessuale e riproduttiva e relativi diritti nei paesi dell’Unione europea. Infatti, a norma dell’articolo 168, paragrafo 7, del trattato sul funzionamento dell’Unione europea, spetta ai paesi dell’UE definire le politiche sanitarie nazionali, comprese l’organizzazione e la fornitura di servizi sanitari e di assistenza medica. L’Unione integra l’azione degli Stati membri, incoraggiando la cooperazione tra questi e sostenendo le azioni intraprese.

La relazione della commissione FEMM invita i paesi dell’UE a tutelare il diritto delle persone a compiere una scelta informata in merito alla salute sessuale e riproduttiva e ai relativi diritti nonché a garantire a tutti parità di accesso a tali servizi e diritti. Esprime inoltre preoccupazione per gli effetti della pandemia di coronavirus sull’accesso ai servizi per la salute sessuale e riproduttiva e i relativi diritti.

Per maggiori informazioni sulla posizione della commissione FEMM, può consultare il comunicato stampa del Parlamento europeo dell’11 maggio 2021 dal titolo “Gli Stati membri devono garantire l’accesso universale alla salute sessuale e riproduttiva”.

La relazione della commissione FEMM sarà presentata in Aula durante la sessione plenaria del Parlamento, con una votazione prevista per il 23 giugno 2021. Maggiori dettagli sulla procedura sono disponibili qui. I risultati delle votazioni saranno pubblicati sulla pagina del Parlamento alla sezione Plenaria, Seduta plenaria, Votazioni, Risultati dei voti. È possibile scegliere una data nel calendario “Ricerca per data” a destra della pagina. I risultati dei voti si trovano in fondo alla pagina del processo verbale.

Il Presidente del Parlamento europeo non può dare istruzioni di voto ai deputati europei, che sono liberi e indipendenti, come previsto dall’articolo 2 dello statuto dei deputati del Parlamento europeo.

Main points made in the reply in Spanish

El 11 de mayo de 2021, la Comisión de Derechos de las Mujeres e Igualdad de Género (FEMM) del Parlamento Europeo aprobó su informe sobre la situación de la salud y los derechos sexuales y reproductivos en la Unión por 27 votos a favor, 6 en contra y 1 abstención.  Al hacerlo, la Comisión modificó el proyecto de informe al que usted hace referencia. El informe, que actualmente solo está disponible en inglés, se publicará aquí en las demás lenguas oficiales de la Unión a principios de junio. Se trata de un informe de propia iniciativa no vinculante.

En él, la Comisión de Derechos de las Mujeres e Igualdad de Género recuerda que la Unión no tiene competencias directas en materia de salud y derechos sexuales y reproductivos en los países de la Unión. De hecho, de conformidad con el artículo 168, apartado 7, del Tratado de Funcionamiento de la Unión Europea, es responsabilidad de los Estados miembros definir las políticas nacionales de salud, incluida la organización y prestación de servicios sanitarios y atención médica. La Unión complementa la acción de los Estados miembros, fomenta la cooperación entre ellos y puede prestarles apoyo.

El informe de la Comisión FEMM pide a los países de la Unión que salvaguarden el derecho de las personas a tomar decisiones con conocimiento de causa en lo que concierne a la salud y los derechos sexuales y reproductivos, y que garanticen la igualdad de acceso de todos a estos servicios y derechos. También expresa su preocupación por las consecuencias de la pandemia de coronavirus sobre el acceso a los servicios de salud y derechos sexuales y reproductivos.

Si desea más información sobre la posición de la Comisión FEMM, puede consultar el comunicado de prensa del Parlamento Europeo de 11 de mayo de 2021 titulado «EU countries should ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health» (Los Estados miembros deben garantizar el acceso universal a la salud sexual y reproductiva).

El informe de la Comisión se presentará al Parlamento en la sesión plenaria para una votación prevista para el 23 de junio de 2021. Puede encontrar más información sobre el procedimiento aquí. Los resultados de las votaciones se publicarán en la sección «Sesión plenaria, Votaciones, Resultados de las votaciones». Puede elegir una fecha en el calendario de «Búsqueda por fecha» que se encuentra en el ángulo inferior derecho de la página. Los resultados de las votaciones se encuentran al final de la página del acta.

El presidente del Parlamento Europeo no puede dar instrucciones de voto a los diputados, que son libres e independientes, como prevé el artículo 2 del Estatuto de los diputados al Parlamento Europeo.

About Ask EP

The Citizens' Enquiries Unit provides information on the activities, powers and organisation of the European Parliament. You ask, we answer.

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