Leiden Law Blog

Morally sensitive issues and cross-border movement in the EU

Posted on by Nelleke Koffeman in Private Law

In respect of morally sensitive issues, the legal regimes of EU Member States differ considerably. Clear examples are legal recognition of same-sex relationships and reproductive matters such as abortion, assisted human reproduction and surrogacy. Cross-border movement in the European Union exposes and impacts this moral diversity. For example, same-sex couples who concluded a marriage in the one State, may, upon moving to another State, claim recognition of their marriage, while women living in States with restrictive abortion laws may go abroad for an abortion.
How do States respond to such cross-border movement; do they ward it off to protect their national moral standards, or do they choose to accommodate such mobility in order to protect the interests of vulnerable parties involved? And what room does European law grant States in this regard? How does cross-border movement affect (the variety in) national moral choices?
In her PhD thesis entitled ‘Morally sensitive issues and cross-border movement in the EU. The cases reproductive matters and legal recognition of same-sex relationships’, Nelleke Koffeman addresses these questions. Her dissertation observes and clarifies the dynamics in decision-making regarding morally sensitive issues, analysing and explaining how various areas and levels of law interact. 

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