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    Right to abortion: Minister to take Brussels Declaration to UN

    © Belga
    Demotte is clear: the message on a woman's right to abortion needs to be hammered home at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York next month.
    © Belga

    The Minister-President of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Rudy Demotte, is due from 10 to 14 March to go to New York. The trip is with a view to taking the Brussels Declaration, which in particular is calling for legalizing abortion (in French-speaking Belgium called IVG), at the 63rd UN Commission on the Status of Women, said his department on Thursday. 

    “Sign the Declaration! Lets speak as one voice in conveying a clear message both to the heart of and within the wings of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The more numerous we are, the greater weight our voice will carry,” said Rudy Demotte. His message came a month before his departure for New York.

    The text was introduced at the end of June, by the Minister-President and the previous Minister for Women’s Rights, Isabelle Simonis.

    Gathering more than 2,500 Internet signatures (www.droitavortement.com), the declaration also champions considering abortion as a medical procedure within the health sphere, and the removal of the “conscience clause”. Unhindered access to information on reproductive and sexual health are also advocated. Furthermore, it demands the implementation of relationship programmes, encompassing both emotional and sexual aspects.

    “Let us, once again reassert that free and informed consent to pregnancy is a fundamental human right. Let us reassert the freedom of choice and self-determination of women as to whether or not to continue with a pregnancy,” states the commencement of the text.

    On the brink of the European elections, in some EU countries we are experiencing an upsurge in “conservative” movements, severely threatening the right to abortion, said Simonis. “We cannot thus lose our focus or decrease our efforts in this respect. The right to abortion is a priority for every one of us,” further believes the Socialist. Her ministerial responsibilities within the Wallonia-Brussels Federation government presently include women’s rights.

    The federal parliament approved, at the beginning of October, the proposed law bringing abortion partially outside of the Belgian Criminal Code without, that having been said, entirely decriminalizing the abortion process.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times