Can the EU help protect women’s and LGBT rights?

esmaspäev 1. veebruar 2021 13:00 14:00
2 rue Henri Barbusse, 13001 Marseille
Odoo • A picture with a caption
MEPs Peter-Hansen and Spurek both reacted strongly after Poland's ban on abortion.

The national-conservative Polish government backed by the pervasively influential Catholic church has recently almost totally banned abortion and declared LGBT an “evil ideology”. Can – and will - the EU do anything about it? 

Last summer, the Polish president Andrzej Duda declared that LGBT are not people, but an “evil ideology”, and described LGBT as a form of “neo-Bolshevism” that is “smuggled into schools” in order to “sexualize children”.

Prior to this, the influential archbishop of Cracow labelled LGBT a “rainbow plague”, while the country’s newly appointed education minister has insisted that “LGBT+ ideology grew out of… the same roots as Germany´s Hitlerian National Socialism, which was responsible for all the evil of World War II.”

Meanwhile, approximately 100 communities in Poland have declared themselves “free from LGBT-ideology”. It is repressive and stigmatizing but as of yet, it remains rhetoric, as there are no laws in Poland legally criminalizing LGBT people.

In addition to this, in October 2020 the Polish Constitutional Court ruled that abortion is unconstitutional in nearly all cases (hence, only 26 cases performed in 2019 would have been legal according to the new law). However, the decision from the Court, which majority of the judges are politically appointed, backfired, millions of Poles took to the streets to demonstrate against the ruling, the church and the government.

At the EU level, Article 2 in the EU treaty states that the EU is “founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities”, and that the member states share a “society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.”

The question arises whether the LGBT+ are “persons belonging to minorities”, and whether the right to abortion is essential for “equality between men and women” in the EU terms? Should the decisions regarding women’s and LGBT´s rights be left to the member states or should the EU interfere? And in that case, how should that be done?

Join us for this international online debate with MEPs Kira Marie Peter-Hansen (Socialistisk Folkeparti/Greens/Denmark) and Sylwia Spurek (Independent/Greens/Poland). MEP Spurek is also the Vice-Chair of the European Parliament's  Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM).

Please note that the debate will be in English.

More information (and your link to join the event) here

Thank you to our partner and grant receiver DEO for making this event happen.