By Ann Marie Foley - 16 July, 2014
Ireland in breach of international human rights legislation by not having wider access to abortion UN Rapporteur suggests.
The Pro Life Campaign has accused the UN’s Human Rights Committee (HRC) of unfairness on the issue of abortion.
The Pro Life Campaign (PLC) was one of the official NGOs, along with Family & Life (F&L), represented at the two-day hearings in Geneva where the UN looked into Ireland’s human rights record on the right to life and other issues.
“Given how gravely lacking in fairness the proceedings were, the HRC has lost any credibility to lecture Ireland on abortion,” barrister Lorcán Price, who represented PLC, said.
The official UN rapporteur for Ireland on the committee, Mr Yuval Shany claimed that Ireland is in breach of international human rights legislation by not having wider access to abortion, particularly on “health” grounds and in situations where unborn babies have a terminal illness.
Lorcán Price pointed out that there is no international right to abortion as did F&L’s legal adviser Dr Thomas Finegan.
“There is no international right to abortion,” said Lorcán Price.
“The manner in which the committee totally ignored the right to life of the unborn child shows that they have a worryingly shallow understanding of human rights and no respect whatsoever for leaving it to the Irish people to decide on these matters.”
He said that the committee’s questions were about repealing constitutional protection for unborn children and the issue of the rights of the unborn were not raised.
Mr Price added, “As a society, we cannot claim to be genuine defenders of human rights unless we also protect the right to life of unborn children. What’s at stake in this debate is whether or not we respect the inherent value of every human life.”
Mr Price also accused the HCR of creating a false impression that Ireland’s new abortion law is extremely restrictive.
F&L’s David Manly noted that contrary to the Government’s repeated claims, Ireland’s abortion law is already extremely liberal and wide open to serious abuse.
“The assertions of the various self-styled ‘experts’ of the Human Rights Committee will be seized on by pro-abortion groups in Ireland and overseas to push for further changes,” Mr Manly said.
He expects that further complaints may be made against Ireland at the HRC, especially to provide abortion where an unborn baby is diagnosed with a serious illness.