Belfast and Dublin, 19 August 2005 - The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children has called upon the court of human rights in Strasbourg to respect the right to life of the child in the womb.
The call comes as the court prepares to hear the case of a woman who claims Ireland's ban on abortion breaches the European Convention on Human Rights. The woman, known only as D, argues that her human rights were violated because she had to travel to Britain for an abortion when she found she was pregnant with a seriously disabled child.
After receiving permission from the President of the Court to make a late intervention, SPUC presented a submission setting out the recognition of the rights of the unborn child in international law, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Ireland ratified in 1992, acknowledges that "[t]he child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth." The submission also details how previous rulings from the court demonstrate that there is no human right to abortion and that individual nations are entitled to grant full legal protection to the child in the womb.
In a ruling last year the Court recognised that the embryo belonged to the human race. Lawyers for SPUC expressed the hope that the submission would convince the Court that belonging to the human race was the basis of human rights.
Earlier this month the Irish Family Planning Association announced its intention to challenge Irish abortion law in Europe.
A summary of SPUC's submission is here.