Irish taxpayers are being forced to pay a large settlement to a woman who claims the country violated her “human rights” by refusing to allow her to abort her disabled unborn baby.
Siobhan Whelan traveled to England to have her unborn baby aborted, but she also took her case to the United Nations in an effort to pressure Ireland to change its pro-life laws.
Earlier this year, the United Nations Human Rights Committee decided that Ireland violated Whelan’s human rights and told the country to compensate her. The UNHRC described Ireland’s abortion laws as “cruel, inhumane and degrading” because they protect unborn babies from abortion in all cases.
The Irish Independent reports Whelan received €30,000 (about $35,000) in compensation, as well as additional money for psychological treatment.
“I am very glad the Government has now taken steps to acknowledge the committee’s decision by providing reparations to me and I am grateful for this recognition,” Whelan said in a statement. “However, for me, the most important aspect of the Government’s obligation is to ensure law reform so that other women no longer have to suffer in this way.”
Here’s more from the Independent:
Earlier this year the UN Human Rights Committee concluded Ms Whelan was subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in 2010 after a scan revealed her unborn son had holoprosencephaly, a congenital brain malformation occurring in one in 250 pregnancies during early embryo development, and 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 20,000 at term.
The condition meant the foetus would likely die in her womb and if carried to term the baby would probably die during labour or soon after. …
In a complaint to the UN committee, she said she ended up feeling like a criminal travelling to Liverpool for an abortion.
The Eighth Amendment of Ireland protects unborn babies’ right to life – including when the baby has a disability or fatal disorder. However, abortion activists and many within the United Nations have been pressuring the country to legalize abortion on demand. Their efforts largely are supported by some of the world’s richest men.
Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign responded to the UN committee decision in June: “The UNHRC is effectively saying that unborn babies with a life limiting condition are worthless and undeserving of any protections in law. I sympathise greatly with the woman at the centre of today’s case and all families who receive a diagnosis that their child has a life-limiting condition. The UN however has no right in the name of human rights to make a value judgment on which lives are valuable and which ones are not. Either we protect every human life or we end up protecting none.”
In 2016, the UN committee issued a similar decision about Amanda Jane Millet, and the Irish government payed her €30,000 in reparation for the alleged offenses of not being allowed to abort her unborn baby on Irish soil.
Parents whose children have been diagnosed with life-limiting conditions have hit out at what they describe as “UN interference in Ireland’s abortion laws” – adding that the international body was “outdated” in failing to realize that new evidence shows that better support and care, not abortion, is the compassionate answer in these difficult situations.
Tracy Harkin of Every Life Counts said it was appalling to see misinformation being pushed by a once-respected human rights body.
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“The UN has upended all logic here, since it is abortion that is cruel, inhumane and degrading to both mother and baby, and this abortion push has no place in a human rights organisation or in a compassionate and progressive society,” she said in June.
“My own daughter, Kathleen Rose, has Trisomy 13, the condition described in this case as incompatible with life, and she is 10 years old. Would the UN tell her, to her face, that she has no right to life?” Harkin said. “The truth is that every baby that is diagnosed is alive and kicking and has a right to life, and their parents also have a right to that precious time with baby, which brings love and joy and healing.”
Harkin said research also showed that 90 percent of Irish parents continued with their pregnancies after such a diagnosis but the voices and the needs of families were being drowned out in the clamor to legalize abortion.
Earlier this year, Irish lawmakers announced that a referendum vote on abortion will be held in May or June of 2018.
The vote is scheduled just prior to Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families. Abortion activists are afraid that the Catholic leader’s visit could influence voters to support unborn babies’ right to life.
Polls indicate Irish voters do not want abortion on demand. A recent poll by the Irish Times/Iposos MRBI found that just 24 percent of voters said they would support a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment and legalize abortion for any reason up to 22 weeks of pregnancy.
The wording echoes a Citizens’ Assembly recommendation to allow abortions for any reason up to 12 weeks and up to 22 weeks for “socioeconomic” reasons, which basically means any reason. Their proposal also would legalize abortions up until birth in cases of fatal fetal anomalies, The Journal reports.
However, there is some support for a limited legalization of abortion. According to the poll, 57 percent of voters would support a referendum to legalize abortions in cases of rape, fatal fetal anomalies or threats to the mother’s life.