THE HOLY SYNOD
On February 13, 2003, the European Parliament outvoted the report No. A5-0020/2003 by Europarliamentarian Ulla Margrethe Sandæk on aid for policies and actions on reproductive and sexual health and rights in developing countries.
The aforementioned report proposes, on one hand indirectly the legalisation of abortions, and on the other hand the provision of financial aid for the relevant policies and actions, including abortions.
As a result, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece declares the following:
We sympathise with the size of the problem and acknowledge the genuine concern of political and social organisations in resolving all problems related to sexual and reproductive health, and, particularly, the one of high mortality rate of women undergoing unsafe abortions in developing countries.
It is obvious that the resolution presents many positive elements, such as the prevention of abortion as a method of family planning, the introduction of the amendment only to protect mother’s life or health, the emphasis on the need for information and education and the assumption of individual responsibility, as well as the participation of families in implementing the resolution.
Nevertheless, we believe that:
A) Abortion does not constitute an individual right, but an ethically unacceptable act, and its legalisation, direct or indirect, an impermissible social deviation.
B) No part of the resolution refers to the ethical dimension of the issue.
C) While the need to protect the mother’s health and individual rights is overstressed, there is no reference to the rights of the embryo.
D) The discrimination between dangerous and non-dangerous abortions leaves room for one to conclude that non-dangerous abortions are permitted.
E) Developmental policy surely plays a significant role in dealing with the problem. However, the suggested policies and actions are limited to updating, education and family planning and overlook the promotion of ethical and spiritual values as well as personal responsibility towards the family, society and mainly towards embryonic life.
F) While the said adjustment does not suggest financial motives, it proposes financial coverage of the entire programme, obviously including abortions as well.
We wish to believe that:
A) Given that European developmental cooperation is applied always within the legislative context of the relevant country, these developing countries, especially the ones that prohibit or set restrictions upon abortions, will not be obliged directly or indirectly to adapt their legislations.
Therefore, we consider ethically imperative to include an explicit reference in the text so that the legislation of the countries receiving European aid be safeguarded, and if they judge so, to exclude abortions from financial aid. And
B) No discrimination whatsoever shall be made against health and development organisations, which do not include abortions in funding decisions proposed by the resolution.