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16 / 12 / 2010 - Precious Life say European Court made `mistake` in ruling on ABC abortion case
Precious Life says the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has misinterpreted the Irish Constitution and made the "mistake" of blurring the clear difference between abortion and legitimate medical treatment in its ruling on the 'ABC' case.
Three women, known only as ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’, took the case to the European Court of Human Rights alleging they were forced to travel overseas to obtain abortion because of Ireland’s strong pro-life laws. They claim this was a “violation” of their human rights.
However the European Court of Human Rights rejected the first two women’s arguments and ruled that Irish laws had not violated their rights but said that the third woman's “right to a private life" had been breached. The third woman was in remission from cancer at the time of the pregnancy and feared that the pregnancy would cause a relapse of her cancer.
Director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth said, "We welcome the court ruling that two women involved in the case had not had their rights breached. But the European Court has misinterpreted the Irish Constitution in its ruling on the third woman. They wrongly stated her right to respect for her private life had been breached by 'failure to implement the existing constitutional right to a lawful abortion in Ireland'. But there is no existing "right" to abortion in the Irish Constitution."
"They have made the mistake of blurring the clear difference between legitimate medical treatment and abortion. Under the Irish Constitution, no woman in Ireland is refused legitimate medical treatment for any complication during pregnancy. In some cases the child may die as an unintentional side-effect of the treatment, but this is not abortion."
"There are no medical circumstances where a pregnant women life can only saved by abortion. The fact is, without abortion, Ireland is the safest country in which to be pregnant. Irish women receive the best medical care in the world. In the latest report from the United Nations on maternal mortality, Ireland came first in terms of safety for pregnant women."
"It must also be stated that, regardless of the human rights aspect, abortion is illegal in Ireland because it is a criminal offence. Secondly, no international treaty or convention has ever recognised abortion as a human right. In fact, legal protection for the unborn child is affirmed in both the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child, which state ‘The child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, BEFORE as well as after birth.’ Article 2 of the European Convention also protects the right to life."
She added, "There is no need for a change to Irish law following ECHR ruling. Any decision on abortion in Ireland should only be made by the Irish people, who have the sovereign right to decide on issues of national importance. This is not a matter for a foreign court to decide."
Youth Defence, Precious Life's sister group in Dublin, described the ruling as “intrusive, unwelcome and an attempt to violate Ireland’s pro-life laws.” They warned the Irish government that any attempt to implement it by loosening Ireland’s prohibition of abortion would be met with prompt concerted action.
Youth Defence’s Rebecca Roughneen said that the Court’s finding was “not surprising” and confirmed that it is in line with much of the EU institution in its pervasive pro-abortion mentality. Roughneen noted that the Council of Europe, that governs the court, has also attempted “to coerce Ireland into legalising abortion.”
Roughneen added that it is untrue that pregnant women in Ireland cannot obtain treatment for cancer, even if it poses a threat to an unborn child: “What the court refused to recognise was that medical treatment for cancer which causes unintentional harm to the unborn baby is not an abortion, and this treatment is therefore fully accessible to all Irish women.”
The Association of Catholic Lawyers in Ireland (ACLI) said, "Bizarely the court found that Ireland had a 'constitutional' right to abortion. And that C had had her rights violated by the Irish Government’s failure to provide her with a pathway to effecting that alleged constitutional right. ..The ECHR was acting well beyond its remit in interpreting the Irish Constitution. Further the ECHR has actualy interpreted the pro life clause in the Irish Constitution as a 'right for women to access abortion'.
The article 8 right in the European Human Rights Convention, on which the ECHR ruled in favour of the applelant C, is the right to 'Family and Private Life' provision. Read carefully the judgement reveals that the ECHR actually did not find that Article 8 gave a right to abortion. It found for C on the spurious ascertion that the State had not provided her with the means to obtain her alledged “constitutional rights” to an abortion. Uncannily this is akin to the basis for the Roe v Wade decision all those years ago in America.
...The Judgement is ambiguous and it is hard to call the next move.
What the Irish Government should really do is snub this ruling and treat it with the disdain it deserves. It should call the bluff of the ECHR and see what the Paper Tiger does next. What no one has really reckoned on yet is the reaction of the Irish people who will resist this insult to their integrity and who, as a nation, surely have a love of their children born and unborn, sometimes equaled but never surpassed."
Precious Life's Bernadette Smyth concluded "This case was never about human rights. It was instigated by the Irish Family Planning Association in collusion with the international abortion lobby in an attempt to overturn Ireland's pro-life laws. With an election coming up soon in the Irish Republic, I urge people there to vote only for candidates who will stand up for the rights of unborn children and strongly resist any pressure from Europe to legalise abortion in Ireland."