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  May 2019  
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Council of Europe Called on Issue of Late Abortions. UK Particular Target of Question; Reports From Several Countries About 'Fetuses' Who Survive Hours, Days
Brussels, Belgium, (Zenit.org) Grégor Puppinck. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will have to address in the coming days the “issue of late abortions”, answering a written question submitted last January 31st. The United Kingdom is particularly targeted following the revelation that each year, 60 foetuses survive after a late abortion for several minutes, and sometimes for several hours. They are left to die or killed by medical staff even though some would be viable with medical assistance.

Other countries, such as Sweden, are also targeted for the same reasons. In 2010, in Italy, a 22 week “foetus” was found alive 20 hours after its abortion. He was then taken in intensive care, where he died the next day. He was aborted due to a cleft lip and palate. Another child in Florence survived three full days after having been aborted. Such events are happening everywhere where late term abortions are allowed, but are rarely reported and made public. 

The question asks the Committee of Ministers to act “in order to guarantee that foetuses who survive abortions are not deprived from the medical treatment that they are entitled to -as human persons born alive- according to the European Convention on Human Rights?” In fact, even people who believe that life only begins at birth must accept that a human “foetus” born alive is a person.

It is to stop these situations, which were also made public, that Norway decided at the beginning of January 2014 to prohibit abortion completely after 22 weeks, which is the threshold of viability outside of the uterus as determined by the World Health Organisation

The Committee of Ministers shall provide a written response to this question in the coming weeks. The response adopted by the Committee of Ministers has political authority. 13 July 2013, referred to by another question, the Committee of Ministers acknowledged the absence of a European consensus as to the existence of a “right to abortion” under the European Convention on Human Rights. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe brings together the ambassadors of the 47 member States of the Council of Europe. Notably, it performs the role of monitoring that States comply with democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Grégor Puppinck is the director of the European Centre for Law and Justice