UN: Irish abortion law treats women as ‘vessels’

Irish abortion law treats women as a vessel and nothing more, the UN’s human rights committee chair and former UN special rapporteur on torture told the Government.

Frances Fitzgerald: Was in Geneva for the hearing.

The State was forced to apologise and withdraw remarks suggesting human rights could be limited or withdrawn if this was sought by a majority of people, when addressing the abortion issue.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald was in Geneva with a team of civil servants giving an account of how Ireland was meeting the demands of the UN’s human rights covenant.

But the committee accused the State of failing to take responsibility for what it suggested amounted to crimes against women and children. They named the Magdalene laundries, the mother and baby homes, child abuse, and symphysiotomy, as “quite a collection,” and one that had continued for a length of time “that it’s hard to imagine any state party tolerating”.

The State had concentrated on material redress rather than taking responsibility for its failures, said the UN’s human rights committee chair Nigel Rodley in an excoriating summing-up that focused on symphysiotomy and abortion.

He blamed the Catholic Church’s historical perspective on women, which dominated the State, referring to it as “the institutional belief system”.

But he also accused the law on abortion as treating women “as a vessel and nothing more”, referring to the ban on abortion for a person who has been raped.

He also accused anti-abortion groups who addressed the committee of “breathtaking arrogance” about the meaning of the right to life in the UN’s covenant.

The Irish Council of Civil Liberties said they wholeheartedly endorsed his comments, which were also welcomed by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Designate.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Related Articles

Symphysiotomy medical records - A hasty mistake

Symphysiotomy survivors ask Varadkar to halt destruction of their records

Irish Examiner' />Unknown files on ‘barbaric’ symphysiotomy op found

Irish Examiner' />Challenge to redress scheme called off

More in this Section

Abuse victim stands over allegations against ex-garda

Firefighter made hoax calls to feel ‘sense of excitement’

Three development packages worth €30m hit the Cork market

Boyfriend told woman lick beans off floor


You might also like

Breaking Stories

Voters cast ballots in Stormont Assembly election

Man stabbed at Swedish House Mafia gig settles case with organisers

Gardaí appeal to the public for assistance in locating Corkman Alan Donohue

First Jobstown protest jailing: 16-year-old gets six-month sentence.

Lifestyle

Love, tears and laughter is the story of Rita Coolidge's life

Women are in the focus on film

A question of taste with Cian Ó Cíobháin

It's not all over at 40 - some things are just beginning

More From The Irish Examiner