16th May 2011
Pro Life Campaign describes latest statement from Your Rights Right Now Group 'utterly bizarre'
The Pro Life Campaign has described as “utterly bizarre” the latest statement from the Your Rights Right Now group which seeks to deny that its recent report to the UN calls for the legalisation of abortion. The statement from the group also accuses pro-life supporters of waging a “misleading” campaign against the Your Rights Right Now report.
Commenting on the latest twist in this story, Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign said:
"The ‘Statement of Clarification’ from Your Rights Right Now is utterly bizarre. It maintains its recent report to the UN does not recommend abortion legislation while in the same breath reiterates the call for abortion to be made available in Ireland. This type of duplicity does a disservice to honest debate and genuine human rights.
The report which is sponsored by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) not only endorses abortion but also ignores all the latest peer reviewed medical research highlighting the negative consequences of abortion for women. The report also falsely states that a recent European court decision obliges Ireland to introduce legislation allowing abortion. In truth the court made it clear that Ireland is free to decide its own laws in this area.
Instead of criticising pro-life groups, Your Rights Right Now should apologise to the numerous NGOs for the embarassment suffered after they lent their name to the report in good faith without being told it would contain a section calling for abortion legislation."
View the Pro Life Campaign's submission to the UN Human Rights Council here
The text of the Your Rights Right Now Statement of Clarification is as follows;
Statement of Clarification
It has come to the attention of the Your Rights. Right Now campaign that some organisations that endorsed the UPR Stakeholder Report have been the subject of a grossly-misleading e-mail and telephone campaign, organised by a small web-based entity. This entity has claimed that the UPR Stakeholder Report recommends the legalisation of abortion. This is not the case. In fact, the report recommends that our elected political representatives enact legislation to clarify the law. This is the same call that has been made by the Irish Supreme Court in 1992 and the European Court of Human Rights in 2010. The full text of section 12 of the report is as follows:
"Criminalisation of abortion means that safe and legal terminations are inaccessible in Ireland for all women and girls. Despite a 1992 Irish Supreme Court ruling clarifying the constitutional position and a recent ECHR judgment requiring that the law be clarified, legislation has not been forthcoming. By restricting abortion, the State disproportionately interferes with women's rights to health, privacy, life, freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment and non-discrimination."
Section 12 makes the following recommendation:
"Immediately repeal the 1861 Offences Against the Persons Act (criminal sanctions for those who have abortions and those who assist them) and immediately enact legislation to clarify the circumstances under which an abortion may be lawful, as recommended by the Constitutional Review Group in 1996 and the European Court of Human Rights in 2010".
As is the norm with any project where a broad range of diverse organisations of varying positions and competencies come together, there is a disclaimer in the report to the following effect:
"All of the views expressed in the report do not necessarily reflect the policies and positions of each endorsing organisation".
A total of 82 NGOs, trade unions and civil society organisations formally endorsed the report by 11am GMT on 21 March 2011, prior to its submission to the 12th Session of the United Nations UPR Working Group.
A further 25 organisations formally endorsed the report between 21 March 2011 and 18 April 2011, bringing the total number of report-endorsing organisations to 107. The full list of report-endorsing organisations can be found in Annex D to the UPR Stakeholder Report.
The report was officially launched on 19 April 2011 by Kathleen Lynch TD, Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People.