Tuesday, June 13, 2017
UN repeats criticism of Ireland's 'cruel and inhumane' abortion laws
Guardian (May 13, 2017): UN repeats criticism of Ireland's cruel and inhumane' abortion laws, by Henry McDonald:
For the second time in a year, the UN Human Rights Committee has held that Ireland's highly restrictive abortion law violates women's human rights. Under Irish law, women are not permitted to have an abortion even in cases in which the fetus suffers from a fatal abnormality. In 2010, Sioban Whelan was denied access to an abortion in Ireland after being told that her fetus suffered from a fatal condition.
"When I received the diagnosis, I was told I would have to continue with the pregnancy since Ireland’s abortion laws do not allow you to end the pregnancy even in these circumstances.
If I wanted to end the pregnancy, I would have to travel to another jurisdiction. This, to me, was very wrong and I knew that the suffering I endured because I had to travel to access healthcare was inhuman."
The Human Rights Committee agreed that denial of an abortion in such instances constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. As in a case brought by Amanda Mellet last summer, the Committee held that Whelan was entitled to damages. It also stated that Ireland should change its abortion law. In order to do so, Ireland must amend its constitution, which protects fetal life. An Irish Citizen's Assembly recently voted in favor of changing the 8th Amendment in April.