Ireland’s Abortion Ban Under Attack

 •  •  June 14, 2017   

Pro-Life Campaign: "Either we protect every human life or we end up protecting none"

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DUBLIN, Ireland ( - The abortion lobby in Ireland is using the latest statistics and ruling from a U.N. committee to garner support for legalizing abortion in the case of presumed fatal birth defects.

After Tuesday's ruling by the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) calling Ireland's ban on abortion a human rights violation, Leo Varadkar, the Minister for Social Protection, confirmed yesterday he would be calling a referendum next year to review the Eighth Amendment, the 1983 constitutional amendment designed to strengthen and protect the Offenses Against the Person Act, banning abortion.

There have been a few high-profile legal cases over the past few years used to garner sympathy for legalizing abortion in the cases of birth defects such as those of Amanda Mellet and Siobhán Whelan. Both women wanted to abort their babies because of serious birth defects that were likely to lead to stillbirths.

Whelan claimed she had to travel to England for a fatal injection to kill her baby before she delivered it instead of waiting for "nature to take its course" as was recommended by her doctor. After the procedure, she was helped by the New York Center for Reproductive Rights to file a complaint with the UNHRC.

The UNHRC found the Irish Republic's ban on abortion violates human rights, claiming women are subjected to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment by having to travel to the U.K. to kill their babies. Whelan was awarded 30,000 euros for reparations and Ireland was told to reform its laws to ensure other women do not face human rights violations.

The UNHRC is behaving like the international wing of the Irish abortion lobby.

Pro-life advocates claim these rulings have no basis in law. Cora Sherlock of the Pro-Life Campaign explains, "Today's remarks from the UNHRC is not a court ruling." She says, "Ireland is perfectly entitled to determine its own laws in this area, and it is outrageous for the Committee to interfere in Irish democracy by ordering us to introduce a procedure which ends human life."

"The UNHRC is behaving like the international wing of the Irish abortion lobby," says Sherlock, pointing out the U.N. attacks Ireland's abortion laws regularly, but that they never criticize the abortion industry's violations, claiming they:

[H]ave never, for example, expressed a single word of concern or criticism at the barbaric abortion practices in countries like England and Canada where the ghastly and gruesome practice of denying medical attention to babies born alive after botched abortions is tolerated and routinely happens. Any committee that turns a blind eye to such horrific abuses is in no position to lecture Ireland on its laws.

Sherlock also takes issue over the UN's ruling for determining "unborn babies with a life-limiting condition are worthless and undeserving of any protections in law." Sherlock continues, "The UN, however, has no right in the name of human rights to make a value judgment on which lives are valuable and which ones are not. Either we protect every human life or we end up protecting none."

Still, last year 3,265 women from the Irish Republic traveled to England and Wales for abortions. These accounted for almost 68 percent of the foreign abortions in the UK last year. These numbers are down from the 3,451 Irish babies aborted in 2015 and the 6,673 Irish babies killed in 2001. Sherlock saying the decrease is "a very welcome development."


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