Northern Ireland violating women's rights, says UN report

Northern Ireland violating women's rights, says UN report February 23, 2018

A UN committee report published today makes for unhappy reading for one of Northern Ireland’s most outspoken anti-abortionists, Nola Leach, above, Chief Executive of a Christian outfit called Care.
Last year, Leach wrote:

As the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act looms it is time to consider the effect that is has had on our society. If 100,000 people are alive in Northern Ireland because it didn’t embrace the ’67 Act then perhaps it’s time we ask the question: how many people would be alive in Great Britain today had the Act not been introduced here in England, Scotland and Wales?
Just how different would our communities look? How many stadiums would be overflowing with these lives?
This is a great opportunity to revisit the 1967 Act. The truth is we need legislative reform, but instead of Northern Ireland following Great Britain, Great Britain should be embracing Northern Ireland’s positive, life-affirming example.

However, according to this report, the UN insists that UK is breaching the rights of women in Northern Ireland by unduly restricting their access to abortion,
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women says:

Denial of abortion and criminalisation of abortion amounts to discrimination against women because it is a denial of a service that only women need.  It puts women in horrific situations.

Northern Ireland’s abortion laws are much stricter than the rest of the UK. An abortion is only allowed if a woman’s life is at risk or there is a serious or permanent risk to her mental health.
Rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormalities are not circumstances in which an abortion can be performed legally.
The breach of women’s rights are “grave and systematic” because the existing law means women have to travel outside Northern Ireland to procure a legal abortion or to carry a pregnancy to term, the report says.
It concludes that a restriction preventing women from exercising reproductive choice involves mental and physical suffering.
The report makes 13 recommendations – including the repeal of the criminal sanction on abortion contained in the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act.
One of the recommendations is that terminations should be allowed in cases of sexual crime and fatal foetal abnormality and when there is a threat to a woman’s health without “permanency” being a condition.
The committee consists of 23 experts on women’s rights from around the world.
Grainne Teggart, from Amnesty International, called on the government to introduce abortion reform at Westminster:

Without delay. The UN Committee is very clear that it is the UK government which is responsible for ensuring that our laws are in line with the state’s international human rights obligations.
Devolution – even if functioning – does not relieve the UK government of their responsibility to uphold human rights in Northern Ireland.

Leach reacted to the report by saying:

Northern Ireland’s current legislation on abortion provides support for the unborn child; we should not seek to undermine or remove that protection.

A Supreme Court judgment considering whether abortion law in Northern Ireland is incompatible with international human rights is expected shortly.
The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) said it would update the Supreme Court on the UN’s findings.
Said NIHRC chief commissioner Les Allamby.

Today’s report is timely as the commission is waiting for the outcome of our own legal challenge.

• See Wales is undermining N Ireland democracy over abortion.

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  • AgentCormac

    ‘Just how different would our communities look? How many stadiums would be overflowing with these lives?’
    To which one could reply, ‘Just how many young women’s lives would now be miserable and ruined? How many unwanted children would now be in care, being passed from one foster home to the next? How many children with horrendous disabilities would now be living pointless existences with no meaning, purpose or quality of life?’
    Stadiums overflowing with lives? The question surely has to be, what kind of lives? It is such a selfish, detached and corrupt stance.

  • StephenJP

    It is largely the fault of the DUP that the power -sharing executive has collapsed, and NI Civil Servants have had to take over running the show. This has gone on so long that direct rule from London is now on the cards. If the Government had any balls – and any understanding of justice – they would use the opportunity to bring NI in line with the rest of the UK.
    But because May’s lot are in hock to the DUP the chance will be lost. Not that she cares: all her actions as PM suggest that, if it comes to it, faith beats reason and justice every time. Why else appoint a fervent RC as SofS for Education?

  • 1859

    @AgentCormac: my thoughts exactly. If she had her way she would be entrenching the position of the rcc in controlling the fertility of every woman’s body. This is an area from which the religious institutions need to be permanently excluded. They need to be told to finally fuck off.

  • L.Long

    Remeber the anti-abortion idiots are not affected by the laws, as they are usually rich enough to get them on the side secretly or go to other countries to get one if needed. It is only the poor women they affect in any way, and who cares about them!
    “…Just how different would our communities look? How many stadiums would be overflowing with these lives?…” VERY over crowded with kids no one wanted, possibly abused, all poor as there are no jobs for them and having miserable lives because the pro-lifers don’t give a shit about port-birthers!!!

  • Broga

    L.Long: Exactly. Try visiting many of the poverty stricken, ill educated people dumped in the sink housing estates with the inhabitants waiting for their security cheque. My wife was a GP working in one of these. No books but a shelf of DVDs. Kids dumped in front of a TV to keep them distracted. Parents having to be asked to switch the TV off so that she could examine the patient. One little girl asked what her stethoscope was for. The mother jerked her arm and told her, “Don’t bother the doctor?” Tragic. Curiosity killed off at its roots.
    She developed a theory that many of these patients became anxious when denied the endless low level distraction of the TV. One mother said she was looking forward to her child being admitted to a children’s home to join another child. The children start school distracted, poor attention span and a trial to the teachers. An enquiry into the reality of what is happening is long overdue. There seems to be a comfortable, often tendentious religious one, that once the baby arrives that is it. It is often the start of a life of poverty and dependence.

  • Brian Jordan

    “Go forth and multiply” – isn’t that what they’ve been told to do? Time the instrution was rescinded, the job having been well and truly done.

  • barriejohn

    StephenJP: Do you subscribe to Private Eye? Once again, they have failed to put their best joke on the front page (it happens all the time these days). Instead of a faintly amusing photo of Jeremy Corbyn sporting inappropriate summer wear (yawn), they should have gone for the photo inside of Theresa May saying to Arlene Foster: “I want you to share power”, and the vicious bigot replying: “No, you’ll do what I say”! (Sorry, no link to this available.)

  • StephenJP

    barriejohn: yes, I do, and that would make a great cover!
    I also enjoyed the Headmistress’s column from St Theresa’s Independent State Grammar, where she reports: “I am certainly not giving up my position in the Headmistress’s office, partly because I cannot,as Ms Foster is still there and seems to have changed the locks”.
    This seems all too true to me on a number of levels!