European leaders are expressing their dismay and outrage at the US Supreme Court ruling that strips women of the legal right to obtain an abortion.
“Making abortions illegal is not pro-life. It’s anti-choice,” Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said. tweeted. “It is a social and economic injustice. And so, so badly. Reproductive rights are not just women’s rights. These are human rights. So let’s defend them all.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told POLITICO: ‘I have to tell you, I think this is a big step back.
Speaking at a press conference in Rwanda, where he was attending a Commonwealth meeting, Johnson said: “I have always believed in a woman’s right to choose and I stand by that point of view and that’s why the UK has the laws it does. “
The US court ruling overturning the historic precedent Roe v. Wade, who had protected a woman’s right to an abortion, is just the latest development that has left Europeans perplexed by the deep political polarization in the United States.
“There is still a long way to go for gender justice,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a tweet. “Women’s rights are under threat. We must defend them resolutely.”
Along with years of inaction in Washington in response to an epidemic of mass shootings, rampant racism, exorbitant costs and limited access to medical care, and meager government-protected maternity benefits, the decision of Abortion has reinforced the feeling in Europe that the United States is strangely out of step with most modern, civilized democracies.
Despite this sense that the United States is neglectful of basic social protections for its citizens, the country remains a global political and cultural touchstone, and its domestic political disruptions still reverberate across the two oceans that often keep citizens Americans relatively remote and disconnected from tribulations elsewhere.
“Very concerned about the implications of @USSupremeCourt decision on #RoeVWade and the signal it sends to the world,” said Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. tweeted. “Banning abortion never leads to fewer abortions, only more unsafe abortions. Belgium will continue to work with other countries to advance #SRHR everywhere,” he wrote, using the hashtag for “sexual and reproductive health rights.”
French President Emmanuel Macron, who has rarely, if ever, hesitated to clarify when his views diverge with Washington, voiced his support for American women and accused the court of restricting their rights.
“Abortion is a fundamental right for all women”, Macron said. “We have to protect him. I wish to express my solidarity with the women whose freedoms are undermined by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Last month, Macron expressed his “shock and griefabout a school shooting in Texas in which 19 children and two teachers were murdered.
Macron’s political party has said it will now present a proposal to enshrine the protection of the right to abortion in the French constitution. Previously, his party had opposed similar legislative proposals put forward by left-wing political rivals.
A initial report by POLITICO last month that the U.S. Supreme Court was set to overturn landmark abortion rights ruling aroused apprehension in many European political circles, recalling the legacy of former US President Donald Trump, generally scorned by European allies, and raising fears that Trump or someone like him could return to the White House. Many Europeans also worry about a potential paralysis of transatlantic cooperation if Republicans regain control of the US Congress in midterm elections later this year.
Europe, however, is not universally supportive of abortion rights. There is also a fierce and divisive debate on abortion in Poland, where the government has passed a almost total ban on abortion with limited exceptions in cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother.
And the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, originally from Malta, faced criticism ahead of her election because of her personal stance against abortion rights.
This month, a pregnant US citizen faced a life-threatening situation in Malta, where abortion is illegal, when she was unable to get emergency medical help after she began to miscarry because doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy. The woman, Andrea Prudente, was finally able to fly to Spain and seek treatment.
Esther Webber contributed reporting.
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