Saturday 3 December 2016

UN ruling on abortion laws

Published 12/06/2016 | 02:30

Enda Kenny: 'This is something that is so traumatic and sensitive and personal for some people and families ... It has divided Irish society for a long time. I myself have struggled with this. It's a profound issue' Photo: Reuters
Enda Kenny: 'This is something that is so traumatic and sensitive and personal for some people and families ... It has divided Irish society for a long time. I myself have struggled with this. It's a profound issue' Photo: Reuters

Both sides in Ireland's fractious abortion debate have responded along predictable lines to a call by the United Nation's Human Rights Committee on the Government to reform Ireland's abortion legislation after ruling that it subjected a woman to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and violated her human rights.

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The ruling calls on Ireland to introduce "accessible procedures for pregnancy termination" to prevent similar violations in the future. The judgement marks the first time that an international human rights committee has recognised that by criminalising abortion, a state has violated a woman's human rights.

The UN Human Rights Committee panel found that Ireland's prohibition and criminalisation of abortion services subjected the woman concerned to severe emotional and mental pain and suffering in 2011, when she was told she could not have an abortion in this country even though doctors had discovered that the foetus had congenital defects that meant it would die in the womb or shortly after birth.

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