Colm O'Gorman hails 'strong, groundbreaking' UN report on Ireland's abortion law

Colm O'Gorman hails 'strong, groundbreaking' UN report on Ireland's abortion law

The head of Amnesty International Ireland Colm O'Gorman has said a UN report into the case of an Irish woman who had an abortion in the UK is "strong and groundbreaking".

Yesterday, the United Nations Human Rights Committee found that Amanda Mellet was subjected to "cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment" after she was denied an abortion here, and that she was subjected to "severe emotional and mental pain".

Ms Mellet said the ruling serves to uphold the rights of other Irish women who face human rights violations.

Health Minister Simon Harris said he believes the Government's commitment to develop a consensus approach with a Citizen's Assembly is the way forward.

Colm O'Gorman (pictured) said the UN report will have a massive impact on abortion laws both at home and abroad.

"They found Ireland's abortion law caused Amanda Mellet to suffer cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. It violated her right to privacy and her right to be free from discrimination," he said.

"It really is a really strong and groundbreaking decision that will have impact here in Ireland, and internationally."

Amanda Mellet visited the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin in 2011, while more than 20 weeks pregnant.

She was told the foetus she was carrying had a fatal foetal abnormality and would die in utero or shortly after birth.

A doctor and a midwife both told her she could carry the baby to term, or she could travel.

Ms Mellet went to the UK for an abortion. She returned home 12 hours after the procedure as she could not afford to stay longer.

She has said she hopes the Government will have the courage to change the law, so Irish women can access abortion services on health grounds in their own country.

She said: "I hope the day will soon come when women in Ireland will be able to access the health services they need in our own country, where we can be with our loved ones, with our own medical team, and where we have our own familiar bed to go home and cry in.

"Subjecting women to so much additional pain and trauma must not continue."

Meanwhile, Niamh Allen from the National Women's Council of Ireland, said there needs to be a referendum on the issue as a matter of urgency.

"The Government is now under real pressure to take some decisive action on this issue," she said. "We would like to see the Government...legislate for free, safe and legal abortion in Ireland."

The Government has 180 days to address the findings in the UN report.

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