Ireland Adopts Lisbon Treaty But Pro-Life Abortion Guarantees Remain Suspect

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 8, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Ireland Adopts Lisbon Treaty But Pro-Life Abortion Guarantees Remain Suspect

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 8
, 2009

Dublin, Ireland ( — Voters in Ireland on October 2 accepted the Lisbon Treaty after they were given guarantees that the nation’s pro-life laws would be protected. However, as Susan Yoshihara of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute notes, those guarantees are not ironclad.

"While some pro-life and pro-family voices hail the guarantees as a step forward, many analysts argue that the nature and extent of those guarantees are far from certain," she writes in CFAM’s Friday Fax publication.

Yoshihara notes Irish citizens voted 67% to 33% to adopt the Treaty of Lisbon after rejecting it only a year ago amidst fears about the erosion of national sovereignty on social issues.

She and other pro-life advocates worry the “yes” vote "will eventually lead to intense pressure on Ireland from the European Union (EU) to liberalize its laws and policies on abortion."

Ireland is the only country to bring the treaty to a public referendum and Yoshihara says two more, Poland and Czech Republic, must adopt the treaty before it is enacted.

About the concerns on abortion, Yoshihara writes: "One of the most controversial aspects of the ‘Lisbon Treaty amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community’ is that if it is enacted it will make the Europe’s Charter of Fundamental Rights binding on all EU members."

Among the 54 rights in the Charter are the right to life.??

The Irish guarantee states, “Nothing in the Treaty of Lisbon attributing legal status to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, or in the provisions of the Treaty in the area of Freedom, Security and Justice affects in any way the scope and applicability of the protection of the right to life….”

"Pro-life and pro-family advocates of the treaty hailed the vote and the guarantees as a step forward for all of Europe," the CFAM pro-life advocate said.

She pointed out how the president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) said, “Thanks to the guarantees given to Ireland – the right to life, the protection of family and the right of parents to educate their children … these rights will be made more secure in the whole Union.”

But Yoshihara counters: "Skeptics argue that the guarantee only protects Ireland from the Charter on Fundamental Rights and not from all EU laws."

"They further point out that, while the EU does not have authority or “competence’ on family matters, this has not stopped EU bureaucrats from using EU competence in other areas such as ‘equality’ to pressure states to liberalize abortion," she wrote in the Friday Fax.

Yoshihara says one EU legal expert she spoke with says " the guarantee is only diplomatic and not legally binding" and that the EU has stated that it reserves the right to intervene on family law when it has “cross-border implications.”

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