The [European] Court [of Human Rights] seems to have begun to manifest a certain judicial reserve in morally sensitive issues. While the Court had become one of the favourite playgrounds of “ultra-liberal ideological” activism, especially with regard to bioethics and sexuality, it seems to be re-discovering that the moral and ethical values underlying societies are worthy of respect.
This was the case, for example, in Schalk and Kopf v. Germany. In that case, the Court ruled there was no right for same sex couples to marry. Additionally, in the significant judgment of A. B. and C. v. Ireland, the Grand Chamber expressly stated that there is no right to abortion under the [European] Convention [on Human Rights].
Further, in the case of Hass v. Switzerland the Court ruled there was no right to assisted suicide. The Court increasingly acknowledges the moral sensitivity of the issues and the State’s margin of appreciation in this regard. Similarly, in the case of Wasmuth v. Germany, which concerned the Church financing mechanism, the Court showed prudence against those who considered this case a new opportunity to reduce the influence of Christian churches.
This trend has been confirmed with the recent ruling S H and others v. Austria. In this case concerning the ban of techniques of artificial procreation with sperm or ova donations, the Grand Chamber has once again reversed a Section ruling, affirming that the reference to “natural procreation” and to the “natural family” (with only one mother and one father), as the model for the regulation of the techniques of artificial procreation, justifies the ban.
Puppinck, G. (2011). The case of Lautsi v. Italy: a synthesis [Article presented at the Eighteenth Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, “Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Age: Trends, Challenges, and Practices,” 2-4 October 2011]. Available https://www.strasbourgconsortium.org/content/blurb/files/ARTICLE_LAUTSI_PUPPINCK_English_BYU_Law_Review.pdf. Last accessed 1st May 2017