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Ethics – Abortion call

August 2016

A United Nations (UN) committee has called for abortion to be decriminalised ‘in all circumstances’ in Northern Ireland.

In June, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child urged the Northern Ireland Executive to ‘review its legislation’ to ensure girls have access to ‘safe abortion’.

Although the committee’s recommendations are not legally binding and it cannot compel Northern Ireland’s Assembly to change legislation, the Christian Institute believes the committee is going beyond its remit of protecting life. It made the recommendation as part of a wider report, in which it also claimed Christian school assemblies could violate the human rights of children.

Callum Webster, Northern Ireland Officer for the Christian Institute, said the call by the UN committee was ‘at odds’ with its founding purpose. He said: ‘Unborn children in Northern Ireland currently have some of the best protections in the world. A committee tasked with looking after the “Rights of the Child” should seek to uphold that, instead of acting as a cheerleader for abortion in any and every circumstance.

‘The UN was formed out of the ashes of the Second World War and the loss of millions of human lives. It should now do everything in its power to preserve life, not license more needless destruction of it’.

A concurrent review of the Republic of Ireland’s by the UN’s Human Rights Committee (HRC) — a separate body — ruled that the largely Catholic country’s pro-life laws were ‘inhumane and degrading’.

The HRC demanded the Republic of Ireland relax its law and allow ‘accessible procedures for pregnancy termination’. Currently, abortion is only allowed in Ireland when a mother’s life is in danger.

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