– For the second time the UN Human Rights Committee finds Ireland’s abortion laws cruel and inhuman –
The Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment welcomes the UN Human Rights Committee’s findings against Ireland in the Whelan v Ireland case, details of which were published today (13.06.2017). The Committee ruled in favour of Siobhán Whelan, who was denied access to abortion services in Ireland after being diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality and was forced to travel outside of Ireland in order to have an abortion.
Commenting in response to the UN Human Rights Committee’s findings, Ailbhe Smyth, Convenor of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment, said: “This is the second time in under a year that the UN Human Rights Committee has found that Ireland’s abortion laws subject women to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, violate their human rights to privacy and equality, and contravene international law. The criminalisation and prohibition of abortion in Ireland denied Ms. Whelan access to basic healthcare in her own country, forcing her to travel abroad, further increasing her extreme suffering and causing her significant trauma. We greatly admire her bravery in taking her case to the UNCHR. Having been subjected to such unnecessary additional pain and hardship, it is appalling that the only pathway open to Siobhán Whelan to achieve recognition of the wrong done to her was through the international human rights process.
“Today’s decision is a vindication of Siobhán Whelan’s human rights and comes almost a year after the Committee’s decision in favour of Amanda Mellet, which found unequivocally that Ireland’s abortion laws discriminate against women. Until Ireland’s abortion laws are changed, women in Ireland will continue to experience severe violation of their human rights. There can be no equality when women in Ireland do not have full control over all aspects of their healthcare, including reproductive healthcare and access to abortion services in Ireland. The Government must act immediately on the recommendations of the Citizen’s Assembly and enable a constitutional referendum to take place. Until law reform occurs women’s health and wellbeing will continue to be compromised and endangered by Irish laws on abortion.”