New UN opinion “cranks up pressure” for abortion law reform says ICCL

Press Release, for immediate release


A new opinion issued by the UN Human Rights Committee “cranks up the pressure” on the Government to reform Ireland’s “antediluvian” abortion laws, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties has said in a statement today (9 June 2016).


The non-binding opinion deals with the issue of terminations in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities and concludes that Amanda Mellet was subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment and discrimination because she could not terminate her pregnancy in this jurisdiction.


It is particularly notable that the UN Committee considers “that the balance that the State party has chosen to strike between protection of the foetus and the rights of women in this case cannot be justified” (paragraph 7.8 of the opinion).


Commenting on the opinion, ICCL Executive Director Mr Mark Kelly said:


“This latest denunciation of one aspect of Ireland’s abortion regime comes as no surprise, as it was already a matter of public record that UN Human Rights Committee considers that Ireland’s abortion law violates the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This latest opinion has no direct legal effect in this State; however, it joins a chorus of expert voices reminding Ireland that its abortion regime is wildly out of kilter with abortion law and practice in the family of civilised nations”.


“This opinion, dealing with the one narrow issue of fatal foetal abnormalities, provides a further illustration of the significant body of work that will fall to the new Citizens’ Assembly to repeal the 8th amendment to the Constitution. The Government has 180 days to react to this opinion, but only 154 days left before its six-month deadline to have the Assembly up and running.  The ICCL looks forward to participating fully in the Assembly when it considers how best to replace the 8th amendment with a modern abortion regime providing for safe and legal terminations in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities and a host of other situations in which women in Ireland may not wish to continue with their pregnancies”.






Note to Editors

The full text of the opinion (CCPR/C/116/D/2324/2013) can be obtained from website of the office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights at the following link




Bookmark and Share
Web Design By Marlton Media