Current Affairs
The European Court of Justice cannot give a right to abortion – Dr Zammit

The Press Officer of the European Court of Justice has stated that this Court cannot in any way grant the right to abortion or oblige member states to introduce abortion, if European institutions do not pass an abortion law as a European Union law. To date, abortion falls within the competence of European Union member countries.

European Law does not recognise abortion as a right, and to date the European Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament have refused to grant abortion as a right in member states. Dr Jacques Rene’ Zammit, who works as a Press Officer in the European Court of Justice, told TVM that the European Court of Justice cannot declare abortion as a fundamental right since there is no European Union law about this issue.

“The role of the Court in the institutional system is to interpret and apply the law. The law which would have been passed via the other institutions, being the Commission, the Council and the Parliament, procedures through which European laws are created. As long as there is no law in this regard, the Court cannot create rights from thin air. This means, in plain language, that until a law is enacted in Europe which in some manner gives the right to abortion and obliges member countries to embrace this right, the Court can never insert this right through its sentences.”

Dr Zammit spoke at Dar l-Ewropa about the functions of the European Court of Justice which was set up in 1952 to ensure observance and proper application of European Union laws in all member states. On the issue of abortion, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg treated a number of cases and recognised that the human embryo deserves the protection and respect of human dignity because it is in a state of development into a person. Even the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has always refused to create a right to abortion which legally ties member states.

Dr Zammit stated that on other issues, the Court has handed down sentences which strengthened European integration and gave rights to citizens in various sectors, including health, youths, consumer rights, air passenger rights and sport. Dr Zammit explained that as press officer responsible for Malta, the UK and Ireland, he has to ensure that decisions by the European Court of Justice reach the member countries in a common language, so that citizens are conscious of their rights and obligations within the European Union.

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