Pro-Life Groups Upset UN Pressuring UK to Allow Abortions in Northern Ireland
by Steven Ertelt
August 1, 2008
London, England (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life groups in England and Northern Ireland are upset that a United Nations committee is pressuring members of the British parliament to allow abortions in Northern Ireland. They say the international body shouldn’t be intruding on national sovereignty and local political decisions.
In advance of a debate in the British Parliament on whether or not to extend the 1967 law legalizing abortion in Britain to Northern Ireland, a UN panel has weighed in.
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, which has pestered other nations to legalizing abortions, says move ahead.
But Betty Gibson, of the Northern Ireland branch of the British-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, tells LifeNews.com that promoting abortion hurts the image of the UN as promoting human rights.
"Repeated calls by the CEDAW committee to liberalize abortion in every country which has ratified the treaty only damage the UN’s already-poor human rights record," she said.
She says the CEDAW committee is overstepping its jurisdiction and violating other UN documents.
"Nowhere in the treaty is abortion mentioned," Gibson says. "The UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child recognizes that ‘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.’"
"The law in Northern Ireland upholds internationally recognized human rights by providing legal protection for children before birth. The CEDAW committee has no legitimate interest in abortion law and has no authority to demand that we end the legal protection of unborn children here. In doing so, CEDAW threatens genuine human rights," she explained.
Bernadette Smyth of the Northern Ireland pro-life group Precious Life joined in the condemnation.
The pro-life group accused CEDAW of trying to "bully" Northern Ireland into legalizing abortion.
"CEDAW is obsessed with abortion and has a long history of bullying countries where abortion is illegal or restricted. Now they’re are trying to bully Northern Ireland into legalizing abortion," she said.
CEDAW’s report claimed that illegal abortion in Northern Ireland has "detrimental consequences for womens health."
"In reality, because of our laws protecting mothers and their unborn babies, the maternal mortality rate in Northern Ireland is the lowest in the UK," she said.
"If CEDAW were genuinely concerned about women’s heath they would acknowledge the devastating physical and psychological harm caused to women who undergo abortion," she added.
Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland unless the life of the mother is in danger or the continuation of the pregnancy would cause the woman very serious health issues.
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