Ireland has strict abortion laws – more so than any other country within the EU. The predominantly Roman Catholic nation protects unborn children from the moment of conception and allows abortion only when the mother’s life is in danger.
Ireland’s laws have made it a target for abortion advocates, including the United Nations, which has recently slammed the country for violating the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. More specifically, the UN Human Rights Committee ruled that Ireland should “amend its law on voluntary termination of pregnancy, including if necessary its constitution, to ensure compliance with the covenant, including effective, timely, and accessible procedures for pregnancy termination in Ireland.”
The case involved Amanda Mellet, an Irish woman who wanted to abort her unborn child when doctors told her the baby showed fatal defects that would lead to death shortly before or after birth. Mellet claimed Ireland’s laws caused her considerable emotional and mental pain – all because she couldn’t kill the unborn child inside her.
The UN committee sided with Mellet, calling Ireland’s pro-life laws “degrading” and “cruel” to women and claiming such laws violate Mellet’s “right” to abortion. Has the United Nations turned into a pro-abortion advocacy group? It certainly looks that way.
The panel wields no power to make Ireland change its laws, but human rights watchdog Amnesty International says the warning should shame Ireland into action. Mellet’s case is considered a “landmark” decision because it is the first instance in which the International Human Rights Committee has responded to an individual complaint.
The decision has infuriated pro-life advocates like Every Life Counts’ Tracy Harkin, who is appalled by the UN’s decision. “Surely very sick babies deserve special protection, not abortion,” she said. “They should instead be recognizing that Ireland is seeking a compassionate and progressive solution which supports and protects both mother and baby … The language used by the UN reflects the appalling attitude of discrimination which is pushing families towards abortion, and denies them time with their sick babies, time that allows them to make memories and provides a pathway to healing.”
Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign blasted the committee for saying that unborn children should not have legal rights: “The UN’s Human Rights Committee has become a de facto lobby group for abortion,” she argued. “Every few months they castigate Ireland’s abortion laws but are totally silent when it comes to investigating abuses in the abortion industry. It is unbelievable how one-sided they have become and they need to be called out on it. The same committee that is always challenging Ireland on its abortion laws has never once taken countries like Britain and Canada to task over the horrific practice of babies being born alive after failed abortions and left to die in hospital corners.”
Sherlock feel sympathy towards women who are told their unborn babies may not survive and argues that they need support during this tough time, not the option to abort. “There is so much more that needs to be done in ensuring adequate provision, for example, of perinatal hospice care services in Ireland to allow families to share whatever precious time they will have with their baby diagnosed with a life-limiting condition.”