How Will Dobbs Play in Europe?
Where The U.S. Leads, Europe (Sometimes) Follows

Steven Mosher
written by Katarina Carranco
August 8, 2022
Reproduced with Permission
Population Research Institute

While pro-lifers in the US celebrate Roe 's reversal, the Dobbs decision has not received a unanimous welcome, especially among some of our European friends. Indeed, a handful of European state leaders, including France's Emmanuel Macron, England's Boris Johnson, and Scotland's Nichola Sturgeon, have actually used their social media platforms to publicly decry the decision.

Yet the fact is that many European countries have far more restrictive abortion laws than those in many U.S. states. France is foremost among them. President Emmanuel Macron has taken to Twitter to share his sentiments of "solidarity with the women whose liberties are being undermined by the Supreme Court of the United States," without mentioning that French Law only allows abortion up to 14 weeks. This is a shorter window of access to abortion than in Mississippi, whose law "generally prohibits an abortion after the 15th week of pregnancy."

Many members of the European Parliament have attempted to "defend" the right to abortion under the guise of protecting sexual and reproductive health and rights . Their ability to actually intervene in such questions, however, is limited: responsibility for decisions regarding abortion remain in the exclusive jurisdiction of each EU member. This means that each EU member state has its own unique approach to abortion.

While the Mississippi state law allows abortion later that in many European countries, not a single member state allows abortion up to birth. There are strict gestational limits, and exceptions are only made in cases that demonstrate specific extraordinary circumstances.

On the other hand, in the small Catholic country of Malta abortion is completely banned. Malta also happens to be the home to the supposed "pro-life" President of the EU Parliament, Roberta Metsola. However, once she became President, Metsola has claimed "[her] position is the European Parliament's position.")

Other countries, including Poland, Slovakia, Liechtenstein, Hungary, and Croatia, have strong laws against abortion in place. Additionally, within the EU, 13 of the 27 nations provide counselling and information by doctors and healthcare providers for women inquiring about or requesting an abortion. In still other member states, such as Italy and Germany, healthcare providers, and subsequently the unborn, are protected by conscience protection laws.

Considering the relatively restrictive abortion laws of their own countries, it is blatantly hypocritical for European leaders like Macron, Johnson, and Sturgeon to criticize the Dobbs decision.

In fact, in recent decades pro-lifers in Europe had more success than their compatriots in the United States. Back in 1989 the UN adopted the International Convention on the Rights of the Child , which provides that children need special protection, including appropriate legal protection, in the time "before as well as after birth." Another initiative to protect the unborn, as well as family and national sovereignty, in Europe was the Geneva Consensus Declaration (GCD), which was enacted on October 22, 2020.

But now Dobbs will undoubtedly inspire pro-lifers in Europe to organize, educate, and roll back abortion even more. This remains true despite the recent Resolution, passed by the EU Parliament, condemning the U.S. for overturning Roe vs Wade and encouraging member states to "rescind" their abortion laws to combat the U.S. decision.

The goal of these radical anti-life activists is to include abortion in the European Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights. At the moment their prospects are dim, given the growing pro-life movement in Europe.

Even major pro-abortion figures admit as much. After all, they recognize that, given the fact that the United States is a global leader in anti-abortion stances - European pro-lifers are energized to see that in spite of the radically pro-abortion, anti-family Biden administration, the United States can rise up in favor of life. That's why we should hope that that conservative movements in other countries will be emboldened by this decision.

Already major pro-life figures in Europe are showing their support for the Supreme Court's ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health . As it is in Italy, the annual March for Life ("La Marcia per La Vita") has changed the public sentiment to be more pro-life. Now 70% of gynecologists in Italy conscientiously object to abortion.

The U.S. remains a moral exemplar, at least in this area , to the world. There is no denying that the overturning of Roe vs Wade has caused a significant cultural earthquake that has sent shockwaves around the world. The impact of Dobbs will last for years, saving countless lives in generations to come and sending Roe v. Wade with Dred Scott to the dustbin of history, where it belongs.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health represents a historic victory for life in the United States. But where the U.S. leads, will Europe follow? Europe already enjoys restrictive abortion laws; the challenge now is for those countries to follow in America's footsteps, seize the pro-life movement's momentum, and roll back abortion even more.

The challenge is clear, and the stakes are high: Millions of lives can be saved!