The Slovenia Times

Slovenian-led campaign aims for accessible reproductive choices across EU

The logo of the My Voice, My Choice campaign for accessible safe reproduction choices. Photo: campaign website

The European Commission has registered a Slovenian-coordinated European Citizens' Initiative which aims to collect one million signatures in support of a financial mechanism that would ensure accessible and safe abortions for women across Europe.

The initiative My Voice, My Choice, coordinated by the Slovenian NGO 8 March Institute, now has six months to start collecting signatures in support of the cause. Once the campaign is launched, they will have a year to collect one million from at least seven EU member states.

The signature collection will start soon because the organisers would like to get it done ahead of the European elections in June, the NGO said.

The registration, announced by the Commission on 11 April, is "a major first step, but we will not stop until we get to the finish line," said French activist Alice Coffin, one of the main representatives of the movement.

In order to be eligible to sign, participants must be EU nationals and old enough to vote in European elections or aged at least 16 in some countries. In Slovenia, the minimum age is 18.

If the required number of signatures is verified, the organisers can then submit the initiative and get the opportunity to present it in more detail to Commission representatives and in the European Parliament, as they await an answer from the Commission.

My Voice, My Choice brings together organisations from a number of EU countries eager to tackle the lack of legal, safe and free access to abortion in many parts of Europe.

The initiative asks the Commission to "submit a proposal for financial support to member states that would be able to perform safe termination of pregnancies for anyone in Europe" who still lacks such access, the organisers say on the European Citizens' Initiative website.

There are some 20 million women in the EU who do not enjoy access to safe and free abortion, 8 March Institute noted.

When the initiative was presented in Ljubljana in March, Marta Lempart from the Polish Women's Strike warned that women in Poland are still dying because they are denied abortions.

Activist Silvia Yuri Casalino from Italy said that while in Italy abortions are legal, nearly half of doctors in the north of the country and up to 80% of doctors in the south refuse to perform the procedure.

The initiative has received support from celebrities across the pond, including American actor Mark Ruffalo and Chilean-American actor Pedro Pascal.


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