The ECHR unanimously ruled this morning that the rights of one of three women who took a case challenging Ireland’s abortion laws were breached because she had no “effective or accessible procedure” to establish her right to a “lawful abortion”. The woman—known only as “C”—had a rare form of cancer and feared it would relapse when she became pregnant. She claimed she was unable to find a doctor willing to make a determination as to whether her life would be at risk if she continued to term. In the absence of any medical evidence, the court concluded that neither the “medical consultation nor litigation options” relied on by the Government constituted “effective or accessible procedures”.
“Moreover, there was no explanation why the existing constitutional right had not been implemented to date,” the court ruled, referring to the "X Case" judgement. “Consequently, the court concluded that Ireland had breached the third applicant’s—C’s—right to respect for her private life given the failure to implement the existing Constitutional right to a lawful abortion in Ireland.”
The court ruled that there had been no violation of the rights of the two other women involved in the case—A and B. All three women were supported in their litigation by the pro-abortion Irish Family Planning Association, an organisation which receives state funding.
The Irish Government robustly defended Ireland’s ban on abortion before the court and said Ireland’s abortion laws were based on “profound moral values deeply embedded in Irish society”. Today’s judgement makes a mockery of the very notion of human rights by ignoring the most fundamental right of all, the right to life. If the government believes what it argued in this case, then it must act to ensure that current medical practice which ensures that essential medical treatment is provided to all women in Ireland continues. Medical interventions necessary to save a mother’s life, even if the life of her unborn child is unintentionally lost, are legal and available, but the deliberate killing of the unborn must remain a crime.
Ireland is the safest place in the world to be born or to give birth. Let’s keep it that way.
Full text of the above Family and Life article available here.
1) Contact the the following leaders today and tell them that the government must ensure that this ruling does not open the door to legalised abortion in Ireland.
2) Speak up for the right to life of the unborn in discussions on this issue—in the media; on social networks, blogs etc., and when talking to family and friends.
Mr Brian Cowen, TD,
Office of An Taoiseach,
Tel: 01-6194020 / 4021 / 4043, Fax: 01-6764048
Mr Enda Kenny, TD,
Tel: 094 9025600, Fax: 094 9026554
Mr Brian Lenihan, TD,
Minister for Finance,
Laurel Lodge Shopping Centre,
Tel: 01-8220970, Fax: 01-8220972
Mr Leo Varadkar, TD,
37A Main Street,
Tel: 01-6183819, Fax: 01-6184125