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Our message to the UN: supporting abortion will lose you all credibility as human rights body

A United Nations Human Rights Committee hearing was used to make hostile allegations against Ireland's pro-life ethos yesterday - and to push for further extension of Ireland's abortion laws. 

Hostile questioning came from the UN Human Rights Committee who seemed to hold the untenable position of considering the direct killing of a human being as a 'right', and who gave a friendly ear to abortion campaigners eager to extend Ireland's abortion laws.   

Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said that abortion campaigners had made an "wholly expected, but nonetheless revealing, push  for more liberal abortion laws, and were callously targeting children with disabilities to be the next victims of the abortion industry in Ireland." 

"No-one is remotely surprised that these self-styled 'civil rights' bodies argue for the right to kill babies: they've long been held in contempt by the Irish people, who don't support them and don't agree with them," she said. "In fact, the only reason these abortion supporters exist is that they are funded to the hilt by US billionaires like Chuck Feeney." 

"However, it is disturbing to see a UN body, which is supposedly guarding human rights, seeming to argue against protections for the unborn child and describing the protections afforded to preborn children with disabilities as 'unacceptable cruelty'. Clearly, if any self-described human rights committee tried to support abortion as a 'right' then it would lose all credibility," she said. 

During the hearing in Geneva, the UN representatives told the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald that the recent Irish abortion legislation 'does not address Committee's concerns' and that it was 'disappointing that' Government will not review Article 40.3.3 of Constitution to ensure broader access to abortion. 

The Israeli delegate to the Committee, Yuval Shany, also claimed that the current situation, where a woman's request to abortion on suicide grounds required the approval of three doctors was akin to 'mental torture' and referenced the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to justify his claim. 

The Committee also expressed concerned that women travelled abroad in order to access abortion, and attacked pro-life counselling groups as 'rouge agencies'. 

"The Irish government legalised abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, yet that's not enough for the extremists in the Irish Family Planning Association, nor, it seems in this UN Committee," said Ms Uí Bhriain. "History will judge these people, who saw fit to trample on the rights of innocent children, harshly and see them as hypocrites of the highest order." 

She pointed out that the UN had never found abortion to be a 'human right' and that no right to abortion existed in international law, while the unborn child's right to life was recognised. 

Youth Defence's Claire Molloy said that she had two messages for the UN: Firstly, that the UN would be totally discredited if it ignored the human rights of the unborn child. 

"And secondly," she added "The Irish people are a sovereign nation, and we will decide our laws, and we will continue to protect both mother and baby from the horror of abortion". 

In answer to the UN Committee's questioning, the Irish Justice Minister said that the Irish people supported the right to life of the unborn child, and had voted by a clear majority to grant Constitutional protection to the preborn child. She also confirmed that "abortion was a factor impacting on the electorate’s decision to vote against the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty", a result achieved by pro-life groups working with the campaign Cóir at that time.

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