When it comes to abortion and Ireland, where do we start? The best place to start is to check first what the Catholic church has to say about abortion and the ECHR ruling. (After all, I am an Irish Catholic.) :)
"The Irish Constitution clearly says that the right to life of the unborn child is equal to that of his or her mother. These are the fundamental human rights at stake. The Catholic Church teaches that neither the unborn child nor the mother may be deliberately killed. The direct destruction of an innocent human life can never be justified, however difficult the circumstances. We are always obliged to act with respect for the inherent right to life of both the mother and the unborn child in the mother’s womb. No law which subordinates the rights of any human being to those of other human beings can be regarded as a just law." From the Catholic Bishops website.It might then be a good idea to start with a chronology of the abortion debate in Ireland . It all began in 1861 when abortion was prohibited under Offences Against the Person Act. In 1979 The Health (Family Planning) Act reaffirmed the statutory prohibition. However, The turning point came in February 1992 when Justice Costello granted an injunction in the High Court preventing a 14-year-old girl, pregnant as a result of rape from traveling to the UK for an abortion. The matter had come to the attention of the then Attorney General, Mr Harry Whelehan, when the Gardaí were consulted about getting DNA samples in anticipation of criminal charges. He obtained the injunction to prevent her traveling. This was appealed to the Supreme Court.
By a majority of three to two, the court found that, if there was a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of the mother, and that this real and substantial risk could only be averted by the termination of her pregnancy, this would be lawful. It accepted that she had threatened to commit suicide if she had to carry the child to full term, and that this constituted a real and substantial risk to her life. The court lifted the injunction.
Since then, between the jigs and the reels, no legislation has been passed to allow for abortion in cases where a woman's life is at risk arising from pregnancy. There was a referendum in March 2002, the third referendum on abortion, which proposed the 25th amendment, to allow for abortion where there is a substantial risk to the life of the mother. Danger of suicide was, however, not be considered a ground for abortion. The proposal was defeated, 50.4 per cent against, 49.6 per cent in favour.
The Irish people voted not to allow abortion in any circumstance.
In 2005 three women lodged a case at the European Court of Human Rights alleging Ireland’s lack of abortion services breached their human rights.
Who was behind this? The Irish Family Planning Association. They have a vested interest in abortion. It's a big business. And they have backing from Planned Parenthood. So, what's their point? That abortion is a human right. i.e. I want an abortion.
In July 2009 the Government obtained a guarantee from 27 member states that nothing in the Lisbon Treaty shall affect article 40.3.3. The treaty passed in October, having being presented to the Irish electorate a year previously and rejected. They didn't like our answer, so they told us to vote again and this time to vote YES otherwise the outcome would be catastrophic for the people of Ireland. The people capitulated.
In December 2010 The ECHR passed a judgement that the human rights of one of the three women have been breached by her inability to access abortion services in Ireland.
"But that “violation” does not relate to the ban on abortion as such. It only concerns the fact that there was no specific procedure in place to ascertain whether or not that applicant was entitled to a “lawful” abortion on the grounds that the pregnancy was endangering her life. This, however, can be repaired by establishing a legal procedure. And indeed, such a procedure, if correctly drafted, (and not cunningly crafted - my emphasis), could be a good occasion for ruling out, once and for all times, preposterous claims such as that of the applicant in the present case, whose life (as it turned out) never was in danger."And that is the bottom line. The woman's life was never in danger. Instead it seems that all three complaints had been somehow planned and fabricated with the sole purpose of challenging the Irish ban on abortions before the ECHR.
"The Irish Constitution does not guarantee any “Right to Abortion” under any circumstances. In that context, the ECHR seems to have misinterpreted the Irish law. What that law foresees is merely that which is also recognised by the natural law of morality: in cases where a pregnant women requires treatment against a disease (e.g. cancer), such treatment (e.g. chemotherapy) may be given to her even if it may, as an unwanted collateral effect, cause the loss of the unborn child. A directly willed abortion, by contrast, is never morally admissible, given that pregnancy itself is not a disease.According to the Director of SPUC's blog
"The court has misinterpreted the Irish Constitution and confused abortion with healthcare. The Irish Constitution does not confer any right to abortion, nor can the right to life of unborn children in any way be held to be in competition with the right to life of their mothers. Abortion is not healthcare, and Ireland, where abortion is banned, has the world's best record for maternal health. If implemented in law, this judgement would legalise abortion in a wide range of circumstances."
So, what do we do? We pray and take action. We put our trust in Almighty God to protect the most vulnerable and innocent in our society and not allow the forces of darkness and self-destruction take hold in Ireland. The most basic human right of all is the right to life of the unborn. The right to life of the unborn child is equal to that of his or her mother. These are the fundamental human rights at stake.