Leading pro-life campaigners in Northern Ireland are working hard to stop the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s attempt to legalize abortion through the back door.
In response to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s announcement on 10th December 2014 that it is to take the Department of Justice to the High Court to demand the legalisation of abortion, Bernadette Smyth, the Director of Precious Life, sought legal advice and made clear Precious Life’s plan to fight this challenge through the courts to ensure that the rights of the unborn child will be protected in law, policy and practice in Northern Ireland.
Yesterday, Precious Life appeared in court regarding an application for leave to be involved as third party interveners in this landmark case. The judge informed the pro-life group that Precious Life apply in writing within two weeks. The judge will then consider whether Precious Life can make any further contribution to the case. The judge has granted leave for the judicial review for a hearing that will be in June.
The following is a statement from the pro-life group:
The right to life of all members of the human family, regardless of health, abilities, circumstances of their conception or any other distinction, is enshrined in internationally agreed declarations, conventions, and covenants such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, the principles of which are specifically endorsed in the European Convention on Human Rights 1950, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1959, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1976.
However, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) will not seek to protect the right to life of unborn children under threat of legalised abortion. Rather, according to the NIHRC, the law in Northern Ireland, which ensures that every human being, born and unborn, has a right to life, a right not to be intentionally killed, is in violation of human rights. The NIHRC has declared that the law in Northern Ireland is in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights: specifically the prohibition of torture and degrading treatment (Article 3), the right to privacy (Article 8), and the prohibition of discrimination (Article 14).
Precious Life believes the NIHRC’s claims are unfounded:
Prohibition of torture and degrading treatment
Torture is the direct and intentional killing of the most defenceless and vulnerable human being, the unborn child. To invade and tear the unborn child from the sanctuary of his or her mother’s womb is torture. Degrading treatment is to deceive a desperate and vulnerable woman into believing that her unborn child is nothing but a blood clot, a clump of cells, or as Malachi O’Doherty despicably declared on the BBC Stephen Nolan Show today, ‘goo’. To lay a desperate and vulnerable woman on an operating table, to drug her, and to tear her baby from her womb and discard into a basin is degrading treatment.
Right to privacy
The right to privacy can never permit the killing of another human being. A pregnant woman’s ‘right to control over her own body’ cannot impose a burden on her unborn child to die.
Prohibition of discrimination
The law in Northern Ireland, the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and the Criminal Justice Act (NI) 1945, which ensures that our unborn children are protected from abortion, is consistent with the original meaning of European Convention on Human Rights 1950. In a case brought before the European Court of Human Rights, Vo v France , the Court stated that abortion is a matter for national legislation. Therefore it cannot be discriminatory that the Abortion Act 1967 does not apply in Northern Ireland.
Speaking outside the court today, Bernadette Smyth declared, ‘contrary to what the NIHRC would like to believe, not one international human rights instrument recognises a right to abortion. It is very hypocritical of our Human Rights Commission to want to deny unborn children, the most defenceless and vulnerable human beings, of their right to life.’
She continued, ‘this move of the NIHRC is undemocratic. The NIHRC is trying to allow abortion by the back door.’
Precious Life will use all democratic means to fight this legal challenge. Precious Life also calls on the Northern Ireland Assembly to vigorously oppose any change in legislation that would destroy Northern Ireland’s unborn children.