The Estrela report on abortion dismissed for a translator error
On Tuesday 13 December 2013, the Estrela report was rejected by the European parliament in favour of an alternative motion as a result of a number of incorrect translations.
The report, submitted by the Socialist Member of Parliament of the same name, also Vice-Chair of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, proposed to make abortion a matter of European law. A coalition of right-wing and non-attached members submitted an alternative proposal which recommended that questions concerning abortion should be regulated on a national level.
Before the vote on the motion, the Portuguese MEP called upon her colleagues to reject this motion in favour of her own report. And, this is where the problem arose. The translations in French and German misled a certain number of MEP’s, including the Bulgarians, by misinterpreting Estrela’s words. The result was incontrovertible: 334 votes in favour and 327 against.
Despite calls for a new vote on the report, including that by the Green MEP Sandrine Bélier, who requested its referral to the Conference of Delegation Chairs, the President of the Parliament refused to question the result’s validity. Furthermore, it was revealed in the minutes of the session that eight MEPs changed their vote in favour of the report, but this had no effect on the final result.