On 2 June, together with five other international NGOs, the EHF launched High Ground, The Alliance for Choice and Dignity in Europe at the European Parliament.
High Ground was formed to work toward a European legal and political landscape which secures and enables the full realization of human, sexual and reproductive health and rights and religious liberty, specifically those of women and LGBTI people. Its vision is that of “a Europe in which people are equally valued for who they are… a place where being free and having agency to make decisions on how to live and conduct their own life is seen as essential for building a happier, healthier, stronger and more just society”.
“High Ground will be instrumental in fighting the spread of misinformation and fear by a vocal minority of religious extremists who seeks to undermine the rights of women and LGBTI people,” said Heidi Hautala MEP. “High Ground is dedicated to defending the rights of all, a position held by the majority of the people I represent.”
Each NGO has some of the strongest credentials in its own field, and is a trusted partner for numerous national and European elected representatives, policy-makers, and institutions. “High Ground is dedicated to informing, educating, and supporting policy-makers at the European level, journalists and civil society who believe that making decisions on how to conduct our own lives is essential to building a healthier, stronger and more just society,” said Dr. Elizabeth O’Casey, campaign coordinator.
The member organizations of the alliance include: Catholics for Choice, European Humanist Federation, European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development, European Region of the International LGBTI Association, European Women’s Lobby, and International Planned Parenthood Federation – European Network.
Helga Stevens MEP said:
The member organizations of the High Ground platform bring unique expertise to ongoing discussions in the European Parliament about secularism, human rights and Sexual and reproductive health and rights. […] Education of MEPs and the public at large is a must-have in a robust democratic society. I look forward to working with and learning from this coalition.
Specifically, High Ground members believe that:
- human rights are universal and indivisible; the human rights of one group cannot be used to undermine the rights of others; human rights are always complementary and a fair balance must be struck between the rights of all in a rich and diverse society;
- women and men must be able to make effective choices about their reproductive health, to choose to reproduce or not reproduce as and when they wish – this includes universal access to safe abortion;
- LGBTI people must see their rights respected in the fields of education, employment, family, free movement in Europe and health; and
- member states, European institutions and public policies must be neutral on issues of religion and belief, and that all individuals – whether believers or non-believers – must have their right to freedom of religion or belief respected.
The alliance has already prepared various resources which are available on its website including briefing notes on the following topics: family issues, freedom of religion and conscientious objection. In the coming months, further such briefing notes will be added.
To know more about High Ground Members, please visit their websites:
- Catholics for Choice;
- European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development;
- European Region of the International LGBTI Association;
- European Women’s Lobby
- International Planned Parenthood Federation – European Network.