The rationale behind the draft of the resolution was to regulate the use of conscientious objection by reproductive healthcare providers. The resolution did not pass as proposed and its provisions were severely diluted by a number of harmful anti-abortion amendments. As a result, instead of offering a set of comprehensive guidelines from a regional or international body on how governments must balance a woman’s right to reproductive health and autonomy with an individual’s right to conscientious objection, the adopted resolution: (1) fails to oblige health care institutions to provide legal health services to the public; (2) enables both doctors and institutions to refuse emergency care without being held liable; (3) is based on the false assumption that the practice of conscientious objection is adequately regulated in the vast majority of Council of Europe member states.


“25 organizations-members of ASTRA Network supported by Action Canada for Population and Development (Canada), Association for Women’s Rights in Development, Catholics for Choice (USA), Center for Reproductive Rights, Family Planning Association (Ireland), French Family Planning Movement (France), International Women’s Health Coalition, IPAS, Sensoa (Belgium), Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (Sweden) expressed deep concern with the result of voting on the resolution “Women’s access to lawful medical care: the problem of unregulated use of conscientious objection” that took place during the 35th sitting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in a letter sent to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Mr Mevlüt Çavusoğlu.

read the full letter here:


Click to access astraletter.pdf