Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe


The “Estrela Report” adopted once again: the Rights of Parents and the Protection of Children at risk due to pressure from radical lobbies

Brussels, 26 November 2013

This morning the European Parliament Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM) voted in favour of the report presented by MEP Edite Estrela on “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”, following the referral by the plenary in October back to the Committee.

The vote was tight: 19 in favour, 14 against. The text was slightly modified prior to the vote but still remains critical with regard to the role of parents as the first and primary educators of their children as the report promotes sexual education inspired by a radical agenda including “early childhood masturbation”, to mention just one example.


The situation in the FEMM Committee this morning was puzzling. Before the vote the coordinators from the different political groups met behind closed doors as the procedure foresees. During the short time for remarks that preceded the vote in the Committee it appeared that a legal opinion on the procedure regarding the report had been presented by the European Parliament’s legal service. Through the different comments expressed it became clear that this legal opinion did not indicate clearly how the procedure should be conducted with regard to the vote. Due to the lack of clarity several MEP requested a vote on the postponement of the vote on the report. The result of that vote was very similar to the vote on the report itself, namely 15 in favour of a postponement, 18 against.

The next step should now be a vote in the plenary and the report is already present on the draft agenda for the plenary in December.

FAFCE that has followed this report very closely since its initial phase remains vigilant and invites fathers and mothers across the EU to contact their MEP on this issue. The vote this morning showed that there is no common understanding on this topic among the Members of the European Parliament. The report still remains very critical and conveys a vision which is not that of mothers and fathers in Europe regarding the sexuality of their children. The vision that inspires this report is nothing else than the radical agenda of lobby groups such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation whose Europe director claimed in public having already contributed to the draft report on the very same afternoon it was made public to the members of the FEMM Committee. IPPF cooperates with the World Health Organisation that published the guidelines for sexual education which were the only reference of the Estrela report in terms of contents of sexual education, i.e. this reference was voted down this morning. Although it is no longer present in the text what lies behind this vision should be explained.

In its press statement from 2010 presenting the guidelines WHO claims that “experts say sexuality education should start from birth”. Moreover, “the special feature of the new guidelines, above and beyond the topic, is that they stress that sexuality education should start from a child’s birth. They also indicate which specific skills children and young people should acquire, and which attitudes should be promoted at specific age periods.”, according to Dr Gunta Lazdane, WHO’s Regional Adviser on Sexual and Reproductive Health for Europe. Anyone reading the blueprint of the guidelines will find that “early childhood masturbation” is part of the recommendations.  

The influence of the radical agenda promoted by IPPF and the WHO, amongst others, does not fit with what parents want for their children. They know better than the WHO “experts” what is good for their children. The fact that this agenda has influenced the report really questions the democratic procedure and the respect for the interests of the citizens in the EU. With the upcoming European elections fathers, mothers and other educators are paying attention to how the democratically elected Members of the European Parliament stand up for transparency, subsidiarity and the right of children to be protected…


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