Friday, December 2, 2016

Ireland compensates woman forced to travel to Britain for an abortion

Guardian (November 30, 2016): Ireland compensates woman forced to travel to Britain for an abortion, by Henry McDonald:

Ireland has offered Amanda Jane Mellet 30,000 euros as compensation for denying her access to abortion. Earlier this year, the UN Human Rights Committee found that Ireland violated Ms. Mellet's rights by denying her access to an abortion to terminate a pregnancy after learning that her fetus carried a fatal genetic condition that would result in death in utero or shortly after birth.

The UN Human Rights Committee, which oversees countries’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), found that forcing Ms. Mellet to travel to England to obtain an abortion under such circumstances violated several provisions of the ICCPR, including its prohibitions on discrimination and cruel, inhuman and the right to privacy. It found that a proper remedy would require compensation, counseling services and changing Irish abortion laws to prohibit similar future rights violations.

In response to the Committee’s decision, Ireland has offered to compensate Ms. Mellet.  It has not formally committed to changing the law, which would require constitutional amendment.  However, the government has begun the process necessary to seek a constitutional referendum.

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