Attention United Nations: There is No “Right” to Abortion in International Law

International   |   Cora Sherlock   |   Jul 15, 2014   |   10:29AM   |   Geneva, Switzerland

When it comes to promoting abortion in Ireland, there’s very little that internationally-funded pro-choice organisations won’t do. This week sees them congregating in Geneva, Switzerland for yet another attempt at utilizing the might of the United Nations to badger the Irish Government into further liberalizing Irish abortion law.

It may be the case that members of groups like the Centre for Reproductive Rights, Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) and Irish Council of Civil Liberties (ICCL)  are not aware of the fact that Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has already introduced one of the most liberal abortion laws in Europe last year.  Tragically, Ireland is already legal for the full 9 months of pregnancy where there is a risk of suicide, even though the experts have insisted time and again that abortion is not a treatment for suicide ideation.

ireland10Undaunted however, the usual suspects are insisting before the Hearing that Ireland is reneging on its human rights obligations by not promoting abortion in cases of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormality.  Pro-life campaigners would instead advocate a more compassionate means of supporting women facing any of those situations, one which does not transgress the very foundation of human rights law by ending the life of an innocent human being.

he Pro Life Campaign sent practising barrister Lorcan Price to Geneva as their representative.  He spoke to national media on the first day of the Hearing, making the crucial point that there is no “right” to abortion in international law.  He called on abortion advocates to deal with the reality of what takes place during late-term abortions – fully legal now in Ireland, thanks to Enda Kenny’s Government – and highlighted the hypocrisy of abortion being considered part of human rights law to begin with.

It’s time that international, well-funded groups like the Centre for Reproductive Rights and International Planned Parenthood stopped interfering in Ireland’s abortion law. We have heard too much from them, particularly when they don’t feel the need to make clear to the Irish public that they are committed to the introduction of abortion on demand.

The situation isn’t much better when it comes to national pro-choice groups presenting reports in Geneva.

The Irish Family Planning Association has never answered questions on the scandalous reports almost two years ago, where a national newspaper reported that counsellors in its clinics had advised women in crisis pregnancies that they could conceal the fact that they had had an abortion from doctors treating them in the future – an omission which many prominent doctors considered to be dangerous.  Quite simply, the IFPA should not be admitted to Hearings such as that one taking place in Geneva until such time as it has answered the serious questions that still surround its actions in this regard.

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The IFPA is also affiliated to International Planned Parenthood so its pro-choice stance is well-established.  It cannot be considered to be an objective voice when it comes to abortion, and yet its opinion is regularly sought on this vital issue of life and death.

The UN needs to be very careful when taking on board the suggestions of the CRR, IFPA, ICCL and others.  Allowing abortion to be considered as a “human right” risks derailing the entire concept of international human rights law.  There is no human right to end a human life, and if the UN allows pro-choice lobby groups to continually take pot-shots at the fundamental right to life, then its own reputation as a defender of human rights will be in tatters.  Much worse however, we will lose any hope of protecting the most vulnerable, voiceless members of our society who are relying on us to act on their best interests.