Strasbourg, France - The European Parliament has voted to urge the European Union to make abortion a basic right, in reaction to a US ruling overturning it as a nationwide entitlement in America.
MEPs voted 324 in favour, with 155 against and 38 abstentions, of a resolution calling on EU member states to include an article saying "Everyone has the right to safe and legal abortion" in the bloc's charter of fundamental rights.
The text highlighted the chamber's condemnation of the June 24 decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that had enshrined the nationwide right to abortion in the United States.
It expressed "firm solidarity with and support for women and girls in the US, as well as to those involved in both the provision of and advocacy for the right and access to legal and safe abortion care in such challenging circumstances".
European Parliament: how does it work?
The EU lawmakers urged US counterparts to protect abortion at a federal level.
While the parliament's vote was non-binding, the EU's charter of fundamental rights is. But to amend it, all 27 member countries need to agree.
That could be problematic as one EU country, Malta, outright bans abortions. Another, Poland, prohibits the procedure for all cases except in cases of rape, incest or where the mother's life or health is in danger.
Helena Dalli, the EU commissioner for equality, told MEPs when the debate started on Monday that the US ruling was "a reminder that hard-won rights cannot be taken as a given, anywhere".
She said that, in Europe, "we should push forward, not backwards. Backsliding is not an option for a continent that aims for winning the future."
Parisians demonstrate against US ruling overturning Roe v Wade (July 2)