European Court to Hear Case Next Week Seeking to Overturn Ireland Abortion Ban

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

European Court to Hear Case Next Week Seeking to Overturn Ireland Abortion Ban

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 1
, 2009

Strasbourg, France ( — The European Court of Human Rights will hold a hearing next week on the lawsuit from three women who traveled from Ireland to Britain to obtain abortions. The women hope to overturn Ireland’s strong pro-life laws that prohibit abortions unless the life of the mother is in danger.

They say they were denied their rights because the Irish pro-life abortion law requires them to travel out of the country for an abortion.

In their lawsuit, they claim the law jeopardizes their health and well-being and they are basing their argument on four articles in the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case, known as A, B and C versus Ireland and brought at the behest of the Irish Family Planning Association pro-abortion group, has been called the European version of Roe v. Wade by pro-life advocates on the continent.

"The IFPA is affiliated to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the largest abortion provider in the world. The Irish constitution protects the right to life of the unborn, and the case seeks to change this," explains John Smeaton, the head of the British pro-life group SPUC Pro-Life.

"If it is successful, countries throughout Europe and the rest of the world will be affected. The effect could be similar to the Roe v Wade judgment in America, which struck down all restrictive laws on abortion in the United States by recognizing a right to abortion," he said today.

The Irish Constitution says, "The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

Smeaton says that the case essentially puts the Irish Constitution on trial and threatens the principles of democracy both in Ireland and for other countries.

"A decision by the court would result in all member-states of the Council of Europe being forced to review their laws. This would include Poland and Malta, both of which recognize the rights of the unborn from conception," he said.

The Society for the Protection of Human Life president says the lawsuit is part of a grand campaign by abortion advocates to promote abortion as an international right on a global scale.

"International pro-abortion organizations are attempting to make abortion a universal human right. All countries that have laws giving protection to the unborn child are under threat," he said. "Thankfully the High Court in Northern Ireland ruled yesterday against government guidance which implied that abortion is a right."

The identity of the women is kept confidential under the lawsuit, but one woman says she had an ectopic pregnancy, another was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer at the time of her pregnancy, and the third had her other children taken away by government officials at the time she became pregnant.

The case was originally launched three years ago but the European court requested more information from the Irish government and the women involved.

The final decision of the court is binding and the European Court of Human Rights is part of the Council of Europe that deals with issues of democracy and human rights.

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