The European Parliament is calling for gender-based violence to be treated as a “particularly serious crime with a cross-border dimension”, including the denial of safe and legal abortion care.
Last Thursday, 427 Members of the European Parliament voted in favour, while 119 voted against and 140 abstained from voting.
The MEPs denounced femicide as the most extreme form of gender-based violence against women and girls, and highlight that denying safe and legal abortion care is also a form of gender-based violence.
With Malta being the only EU country that has a blanket ban on abortion, a law like this would strongly affect Malta’s reproductive rights laws.
“The report recognises that sexual and reproductive rights such as abortion rights are crucial, and that not only women but also LGBTI people can be victims of gender-based violence, as this type of violence is based on gender inequalities and patriarchal stereotypes,” MEP Malin Björk said.
“It is time to act to include gender-based violence in the list of EU crimes, and to present a holistic and inclusive Directive to fight what is one of the most serious and persistent human rights violations in human history,” MEP Diana Riba i Giner added.
One third of women in the EU have experienced physical and/or sexual violence. Around 50 women lose their lives to domestic violence every week, and 75% of women within a professional setting have experienced sexual harassment.
Parliament wants to address all forms of violence and discrimination based on gender against women and girls and LGBTIQ+ persons, whether offline or online.
They also call on the Commission to list other crimes as a new area of crime, such as human, drug, and arms trafficking, computer crime and terrorism.
This would include prevention measures, support services for victims, measures to end all forms of gender-based violence and minimum standards for law enforcement. The Parliament also emphasises the importance of cooperation among member states.
During her second State of the EU address in plenary on Wednesday, Commission President von der Leyen told MEPs that, by the end of the year, the Commission will propose a law to combat violence against women that will include prevention, protection and effective prosecution, online and offline.
This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
Do you think denying safe and legal abortion care can be considered gender-based violence?