Right to abortion: a new fundamental right? From a resolution to an EU fundamental right

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Schulz, Anna Maria
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In reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade in 2022, the EU Parliament calls in its resolution P9_TA(2022)0302 for the right to abortion to be included in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This work analyses the quality of the proposal by the EU Parliament against criteria set up by Philipp Alston. This thesis also investigates why abortion is still regarded as a sensitive issue today, before it illustrates how the ECJ and ECtHR have dealt with abortion in the past, citing and summarizing the most important case law on the matter. The analysis of the case law is subject matter in numerous Articles in academic literature – but whether the EU resolution P9_TA(2022)0302 offers a potential solution has not been assessed. In order to answer this question, this thesis uses the doctrinal research method, focusing on EU primary law, the case law of the ECJ and the ECtHR, the forementioned EU resolution and related academic literature. Finally, it will be concluded that the right to abortion does in fact fulfill most of the criteria for setting up a new EU fundamental right. However, the specific proposal by the EU Parliament is unlikely to meet broad approval by EU Member States. Moreover, the EU currently lacks competence to enshrine the right to abortion into the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Ultimately, it is concluded that the resolution is more of a symbolic gesture than a proposal which can be actually implemented in practice.
Second semester University: KU Leuven
abortion, European Union, Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, fundamental rights, human rights, Court of Justice of the European Union, European Court of Human Rights