The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) and Amnesty International are amongst organisations complaining that the 2001 amendment to the Electoral Act of 1997 by the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPOC) is curbing civil society and human rights organisations, and that there is now a “chilling effect” on the work of human rights organisations.
Documents asserting individual rights, such the Magna Carta (1215), the English Bill of Rights (1689), the French Declaration on the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789), and the US Constitution and Bill of Rights (1791) are the written precursors to many of today’s human rights documents.
The political and intellectual dishonesty about abortion has to stop. Pro-choice politicians and commentators repeatedly call for a calm and respectful debate but have no intention of abiding by their own rules of the game.
One of five children, I was born in the late 1930s. Growing up in Ireland during the 1950s was happy, not drab and grey as we are currently led to believe. In the early 1960s, I emigrated to London with many Irish people. London was a lively place but, compared to now, it was a lot more difficult to travel to and from Ireland to visit family and friends so I often felt homesick. While training as a nurse, I met my husband. An articulate and well-read Englishman with an Irish mother and an English father, he was raised a Catholic.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the International Perinatal and Hospice Care Conference held at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. Going into the conference, I was prepared to hear typical medical conference fare – long and technical presentations albeit about an interesting topic. I was interested in learning more about issues surrounding babies born with foetal anomalies and new methods of providing care for these children. I was not expecting the conference – which was packed with doctors and nurses and midwives from all over the country – to be as hopeful and inspiring as it was.
A Belfast High Court judge has ruled that abortion should be made available in the north of Ireland where the baby had a severe disability or was conceived through rape. The case was taken by the Northern Ireland Human Right Commission and the ruling has been described as driving a coach and horses through Northern Ireland’s abortion law. Precious Life, the leading anti-abortion group in the north, said that Justice Mark Horner’s ruling was ‘incompatible with human rights’, and it’s hard to see how the court could have made a ruling which was both misinformed and contradictory, and used language that was sometimes cruel and offensive.
Having attended the National Convention for Life recently in Dublin I was lucky to have heard the wonderful story Tracy Harkin had to tell. Originally from Antrim, Tracy was living in Washington State when she became pregnant on her fifth child and she felt she had nothing to worry about. Everything was going along so perfectly that she decided after her 20 week scan to have a home water birth.
Recently the tax-payer funded Irish Council for Bioethics called for legislation for destructive embryonic stem-cell research. They did this despite the fact that, by their own admission, upwards of seventy percent of submissions opposed such a move. Amazingly what none of the media covering publication of the report failed to mention is the fact that such legislation would be totally and utterly illegal. Some may be tempted to point to a High Court ruling a year or two ago which claimed that the unimplanted embryo was not a person protected by Article 40.3.3 of Bunreacht na hÉireann. However, if the High Court never got things wrong we would not have a Supreme Court, but what’s particularly interesting about this issue is that there’s a ruling from an even higher court; the people of Ireland. Throughout the history of the state, since the ratification of Bunreacht na hÉireann, the role of the people has been a legislative role in agreeing or rejecting amendments to the Constitution. With regard to the human embryo, however, we have also served in a judicial capacity by rejecting the government’s interpretation of article 40.3.3 regarding the definition of the word unborn.
Barbara Farnham can clearly remember the day in 1985 on which Patrick was born in the Rotunda Hospital.
However, she didn’t get to see her little boy straight away because as the obstetrician revealed, her child was stillborn. He then requested her consent to conduct a post-mortem examination. He explained that this was standard and that it was the only way to determine the cause of death. He also reassured her that they would only take microscopic tissue samples for testing and that the baby would be left intact.