PLC challenges United Nations on its ‘biased’ abortion report

The Pro Life Campaign (PLC) has condemned as hypocritical the recommendation of a United Nations committee that Ireland should conduct a referendum on abortion in order to liberalise what it called the State’s “highly restrictive legislation on abortion and strict interpretation thereof”.

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights had recommended that Ireland should “take all necessary steps, including a referendum on abortion, to revise its legislation on abortion, including the Constitution and the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act 2013, in line with international human rights standards”. 

Human rights

PLC deputy chairperson Cora Sherlock accused the committee, which includes representatives from Algeria, China and Russia, of being “incredibly biased”, and said “there is no ‘right to abortion’ in international human rights law, a fact which has been conveniently ignored by the members of this committee.”

The recommendation was one of dozens from the committee, which is tasked with monitoring the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The covenant is not part of Irish domestic law, and during the hearings the Government noted that it had never, to its knowledge, been cited in any Irish legal judgments.

The 18-member committee expressed regret that the covenant is not embedded in Irish law, and recommended that this be rectified.