A mirror has been held up to us by the UN on abortion – so let's address our failings
Published 25/07/2014 | 02:30
The United Nations Committee on Human Rights is chaired by an eminent champion of human rights, Sir Nigel Rodley. Anybody called Sir Nigel suggesting what the Irish should do with their Constitution is likely to be met with resistance. However, he has shown enormous sympathy to the women in Ireland and the committee has clarified some areas that might have been difficult for successive governments to come to grips with.
During the hearings, Sir Nigel confessed that he was unable to understand how a woman could be 'doomed' to continue a pregnancy 'regardless of the health consequences' and 'at the risk of criminal penalties'. He cited pregnancy as a result of rape 'where the woman doesn't even bear any responsibility and is by the law clearly treated as a vessel and nothing more'.
We must remember that as a nation we have signed up to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This is not a case of an external body monitoring our rights legislation. We are part of this international diplomatic caring organisation. Therefore, we believe it is wrong to impose inhuman and degrading treatment on any human being and that we must protect the minority against the will of a biased majority.