American Group Pushes UN to Allow Abortions on Disabled Irish Babies

International   |   Cora Sherlock   |   Nov 19, 2013   |   1:26PM   |   Dublin, Ireland

This week, the US-based Center for Reproductive Rights will present a submission to the UN alleging that it is “cruel and inhumane” that women carrying babies with a terminal illness cannot access abortion in Ireland.

The CFRR presents itself as a credible human rights body. In truth, it is one of the most radical international pro-choice groups and campaigns for unrestricted abortion right up to birth.

Last week, we were subjected to numerous media appearances from CFRR spokesperson Johanna Westeson where she castigated Ireland for not allowing abortion in cases where the unborn baby has a life-shortening condition.

If Ms Westeson expects to be taken seriously, she must first explain why the CFRR campaigns for abortion on request throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy and has even opposed attempts to prohibit abortion on grounds of race or gender.

She must explain why the CFRR refuses to acknowledge the humanity of the unborn child at any stage during pregnancy, even post-viability. In countries with liberal abortion laws, like the US, the CFRR has opposed changes to the law obliging doctors to administer pain relief to unborn babies in late-term abortions.

The CFRR website boasts of its team of highly trained lawyers, citing numerous cases and examples where attempts to restrict late-term abortions have been defeated.  But the CFRR has had nothing to say about the recently publicised death of an Irish resident following an abortion at a Marie Stopes clinic in London. Likewise, it has maintained a stunned silence over the death of Tonya Reaves at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Chicago. It appears that the CFRR has a very selective definition of human rights when it comes to women’s healthcare.

The families of unborn babies with life-shortening conditions are entitled to a balanced and open debate where different perspectives are afforded a hearing. What we don’t need is a group like the CFRR hijacking the debate to pursue its abortion advocacy agenda.



It is incredibly hurtful to families of babies who lived with or are living with conditions like Edwards Syndrome to have groups like the CFRR describe their child as “unviable” or “incompatible with life”. It is also misleading to refer to a particular pregnancy as “unviable” as we never know for certain the accuracy of a diagnosis. This is why we hear of so many stories of misdiagnosis or children living much longer than expected.

Babies with a terminal condition need our love and protection and deserve to be loved every moment of their lives, no matter how short those lives may be. The CFRR have no right to strip these vulnerable babies of their humanity and inherent value.

It was great to see the group One Day More step forward to join the Irish debate last week.  One Day More consists of parents who were given the devastating news that their unborn babies were terminally ill but who chose not to abort their child.  Their campaign to establish proper peri-natal hospice facilities in Ireland brings much-needed balance to the debate.

LifeNews Note: Cora Sherlock writes for the ProLife Campaign.