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PLC hits back at criticism of Ireland’s abortion law

By editor - 12 May, 2016

Cora Sherlock addressing the UN in the Palais Des Nations, Geneva

The Pro Life Campaign has hit back at those countries who questioned Ireland’s record on access to abortion services at the UN Human Rights Committee hearings in Geneva.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign said in Geneva, “Far from being embarrassed, we should be challenging some of these countries over their appalling record when it comes to defending human life.”

She noted that among the countries attacking Ireland’s 8th Amendment were Canada and Denmark.

“In Canada, their own official figures show that over a ten year period starting in 2000, 491 babies who survived botched abortions were abandoned by medical staff and left to die alone in the corners of hospitals.”

“Denmark, who also attacked Ireland’s abortion laws today, has set a goal to create a Down’s Syndrome free Denmark by 2030.”

“So I think it is reasonable to say that countries like these are in no position to be lecturing Ireland on human rights or how best to protect human life.”

six states lodged advance questions on access to abortion services in Ireland though the issue was raised by many more states at the session in Geneva, including Canada, France, the US, Lithuania, Macedonia, Switzerland, the Republic of Korea and Iceland.

Slovenia recommended Ireland “decriminalise abortion in all circumstances and, as a minimum, ensure access to safe abortion also in cases of rape, incest, serious risk to the health of the mother or fatal foetal abnormality”.

Minister Frances Fitzgerald told delegates at the Geneva conference that, “The issue of abortion continues to be a very live issue in Ireland and we recognise the need for our discourse to be respectful of differing views.”

She said the Government have made a commitment in the most recent Programme for Government to establish a Citizens’ Assembly to make recommendations to the Dáil on further constitutional changes and they will consider the Eighth Amendment as part of this work.”

“Recent public debate has concentrated on extending the law on abortion to cover cases of fatal foetal abnormalities or cases where a woman is pregnant as a result of rape to a broader legal regime that allows abortion where the health of a woman is of concern.”

“None of the above measures are possible under the current regulation of constitutional and statute law,” she said.

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