Double-think on equality

Over the past couple of days, Stephen Hughes, Member of the European Parliament for the North East of England, has hit the headlines as a Catholic who has expressed indignant opposition to the Holy Father's comments on Equality legislation. Speaking at a meeting of socialists and democrats, Hughes said that he was appalled by what the Pope had said, and pointed to the duty of religious leaders to eradicate inequality. He protested that "Inequality is at the root of many social problems."

One social problem for women in one part of the world has been that when they wanted to have a second baby, they have been forced to have an abortion. Other women in the same country have been subjected to forced sterilisation. The USA declined to continue funding programmes in countries which did this sort of thing. In 2001, the EU stepped in to make up the 33 million shortfall.

In 2008, Amendment 134 to the EU budget was proposed:
Community assistance shall not be given to any government or organisation or programme which supports or participates in the managment of a programme which involves human rights abuses such as coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization or infanticide.
Sadly, the amendment failed by 335 votes to 222. Twenty British MEPs helped to vote the amendment down. Among them was none other than Stephen Hughes MEP.

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