Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Sexual and reproductive health and rights

Delivered in Plenary - 10 December 2013

Mr President

The strength of feeling provoked today by this report was evident during the plenary vote where the intolerance by Ms Estrela of dissent or differing views on this side of the House was fortunately firmly rejected by this Parliament. It is wholly accurate to label the Estrela report as being contrary to the EUís motto of unity and diversity, i.e. a respect for subsidiarity and in particular respecting the moral values of individuals in their countries, and particularly the issue of conscience over abortion issues and the right to object to performing abortions. I, as a doctor, feel particularly strongly about that.

Member States retain sovereignty rightly over such issues and it is regrettable that this report neglected to respect this fact. I was very pleased that the ECR-EPP alternative report prevailed over the intolerant Estrela one, which was firmly rejected, reminding those that wish to seek reform in such areas that a compulsory, top-down EU diktat is not the way to effect changes in areas that are intrinsically about morals, religious beliefs, conscience and values. This is something for our societies to deliberate on through their national parliaments, and it is not, and never should be, an EU competence.