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18 / 04 / 2008 - Council of Europe`s call for abortion should be rejected
The Council of Europe’s call for Ireland to decriminalise abortion should be roundly rejected, according to the Pro-Life Campaign (PLC). A spokesperson for the PLC, Dr Ruth Cullen, said that the decision revealed “an attitude of indifference to the dignity and value of unborn human life and the negative effects of abortion on women”.
“There is nothing liberal or progressive about the rhetoric of 'choice', when it involves taking someone else’s life, as happens in abortion,” Dr Cullen continued.
The Council's call came after the the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in favour of the Access to Safe and Legal Abortion in Europe report and the associated resolution which calls on all member states to decriminalise abortion.
The report was prepared by the Austrian Socialist representative on PACE, Ms. Gisela Wurm. Fianna Fáil Senator Terry Leyden expressed disappointment at the result but emphasised that it will not have any effect on Ireland’s position on abortion. Quoting from the Statute of the Council of Europe, he said that resolutions of PACE were simply “expressions of view for which it [the Assembly] alone is responsible”.
According to Dr Cullen, many of the arguments put forward by Council members promoting abortion were “jaded and grossly out of touch with the most recent research”. Those arguing that Ireland should be compelled to legalise abortion on the grounds of women's health “conveniently ignored the findings of the latest UN report (2007) on maternal mortality, which found that of all 171 recorded states, Ireland without abortion, is the safest country in the world for mothers during pregnancy”.
Citing the recent statement from the Royal College of Psychiatrists warning of the possible negative consequences of abortion for women, Dr Cullen said that these findings were “sufficient grounds on their own why we shouldn't heed the Council of Europe's call”.
The challenge for our society was “not to introduce abortion on demand but rather to work together to create a more caring environment for expectant mothers and their unborn children,” Dr Cullen added.
She congratulated the Irish delegates to PACE, Senator Cecilia Keaveney (FF), Deputy Joe Costello (Lab), and Deputy Pat Breen (FG) and Senator Leyden who voted against the resolution. Senator Leyden had been leading the campaign to gather support for the rejection of the resolution from his colleagues in Strasbourg all week.
Speaking after the vote this afternoon the Senator said: “I am disappointed that this resolution was passed by the Assembly. I campaigned vigorously against the report and gathered a certain amount of support in the last few days.
Senator Leyden said it was inappropriate for the Council of Europe to “call on member states to decriminalise abortion as it takes no account of the differing historical, constitutional and policy positions of countries such as Ireland”.
He said it was important “not to confuse the Council of Europe with the European Union” as decisions of the Council were not legally binding on Ireland. He was also keen to stress that ratification of the Lisbon Treaty would “in no way undermine Ireland's independence and sovereignty in matters such as abortion law and policy”.
Source : CiNews