FRC: Europe High Court Denies ‘Right to Abortion,’ Upholds Irish Legal Autonomy

December 17, 2010

WASHINGTON, (MetroCatholic) — In a decision involving challenges to Ireland’s abortion laws, the European Court of Human Rights today held that the European Convention on Human Rights does not contain a general right to abortion. In a suit that had been dubbed the “Roe v. Wade of Europe,” today’s decision was a substantial victory for the unborn. The ruling stymies the international abortion movement’s claims that abortion is a universally-recognized right.
In November, 2008, Family Research Council, the Alliance Defense Fund (FRC’s counsel), the European Centre for Law and Justice, and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children filed an amicus brief supporting Ireland. Of this decision, Jeanne Monahan, Director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, said:

“Europe’s highest court has sent a very welcome message not only to its constituent countries but to the world at large that the so-called ‘right to an abortion’ is neither fundamental nor recognized worldwide, as abortion advocates would suggest.

“We are thankful that the European Court on Human Rights stood by the right of a nation to define its own laws, and also that the court stood by the life of the unborn. The result of Europe’s ‘Roe v. Wade’ decision reaffirmed that it is up to nations to define their own laws, and that a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body does not extend to a right to terminate a life she is carrying,” Monahan concluded.

Of final note is that with respect to one of three plaintiffs, the Court also held that Ireland had not provided proper procedures pursuant to Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution whereby a life-saving abortion could be procured effectively. This procedural failure was deemed to violate the Convention’s Article 8. It is anticipated that the Irish government will correct this situation while also continuing to maintain its current protections for unborn children.

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