Human Rights Watch Attacks Ireland for Pro-Life Laws Prohibiting Abortions

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 28, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Human Rights Watch Attacks Ireland for Pro-Life Laws Prohibiting Abortions

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 28
, 2010

Dublin, Ireland ( — Human rights apparently don’t include the right to life — at least according to the pro-abortion group Human Rights Watch. The New York-based organization released a document today entitled "A State of Isolation: Access to Abortion for Women in Ireland" attacking Ireland’s pro-life laws.

Among other things, it claims that Ireland is in breach of its international human rights obligations for not allowing legalised abortion in this country.

"Women in need of abortion services should, as a matter of international law and human decency, be able to count on support from their government as they face a difficult situation," said Marianne Mollmann, the women’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. "But in Ireland they are actively stonewalled, stigmatised, and written out."

Dr Ruth Cullen of the Pro-Life Campaign told today she is disappointed that a foreign group would attack Ireland’s desire to protect women and children.

"Human Rights Watch cannot credibly claim to be a human rights organization while at the same time denying the rights of unborn children throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy. Any authentic vision of human rights has to include the right to life. Otherwise it is meaningless," she said.

Cullen also said Ireland has led the world in supporting women’s health and maternal mortality statistics in part because of the respect for life afforded in its abortion laws.

"Human Rights Watch may talk a lot about the issue but it does not have a monopoly on concern for women’s health. Ireland without abortion is a recognized world leader in providing medical care for women during pregnancy," she said. "Human Rights Watch and like-minded abortion advocacy groups need to reflect on this reality instead of creating unnecessary fears about women’s health simply to have abortion imposed on Ireland."

Cullen also says HRW is wrong to deny the latest peer reviewed studies showing the extremely damaging psychological effects of abortion on women.

The HRW report complains about pregnancy centers in Ireland that hurt women by showing them ultrasound pictures of the development of their unborn child.

Another leading Irish pro-life group, Youth Defence, has strongly criticized the report.

Youth Defence spokeswoman Rebecca Roughneen said that the claim Ireland doesn’t respect human rights because of its pro-life laws was “nonsense” and that “no amount of euphemism made abortion anything but the deliberate killing of a child; a killing which also left women deeply wounded.”

Roughneen said that “as a young Irish woman, I find the claims of this organization most disingenuous and deeply insulting. Neither I, nor the majority of Irish women, need abortion to ‘enjoy’ our human rights.”

She added that “the Irish people, not some unelected, unrepresentative body, will decide Ireland’s abortion laws” and pointed to the timing of the HRW report, which comes as a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights is expected on the ABC case regarding abortion.

Ireland women travel to England to get abortions and, according to UK Department of Health figures, 4,600 women who had abortions in the UK in 2008 gave Irish addresses — though the figure is thought to be higher.

Action: Contact HRW to complain at: 2nd Floor, 2-12 Pentonville Road, London N1 9HF, UK. Tel: 00-44-20-7713-1995, Fax: 00-44-20-7713-1800, E-mail: [email protected]

Related web sites:
Youth Defense –
Pro-Life Campaign –

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