William Binchy of the Pro Life Campaign:
Remarks by Professor William Binchy at the Pro Life Campaign Press Conference, Buswells Hotel, Dublin 2
12.30pm, 16th December 2010
Today’s judgment from the European Court of Human Rights will require detailed analysis over coming days but some clear points emerge immediately. The most important is that the judgment does not require Ireland to introduce legislation authorising abortion. On the contrary, it fully respects the entitlement of the Irish people to determine legal policy on protecting the lives of unborn children. The Irish people must now make a choice. If they were to choose to endorse the Supreme Court decision in X, this would involve legalising abortion contrary to existing medical practice and the best evidence of medical research. If on the other hand, the Irish people choose to endorse the current medical practice, they will be ensuring the continuation of Ireland’s world renowned safety record for mothers and babies during pregnancy.The evidence over the past 18 years contradicts the medical assumptions of the X case decision.   It is crucial to note that the judges in the X case heard no medical evidence. In the years since the ruling, the evidence has steadily built up confirming the opposite of what the judges had assumed - women who have abortions are more likely to commit suicide than women who continue with their pregnancy. 
Any revisiting of the X case decision would need to take on board the evidence from these new studies that abortion involves significant risks for some women. Based on the current state of medical evidence alone, it would be irresponsible simply to introduce legislation along the lines of the X ruling as it would put at risk the mother’s life as well as taking the baby’s.
The suggestion that because of this country’s pro-life ethos pregnant women are denied necessary medical treatments is simply not true. In fact, Ireland is a world leader in safety for pregnant mothers. The latest UN report on the safety of mothers during pregnancy found, of all 172 countries for which estimates are given, Ireland leads the world when it comes to safety for pregnant women.Women are safer in Ireland when pregnant than in countries like Britain and Holland, which permit abortion on demand. Given our record in maternal care, the question has to be asked, why are some people proposing to blur the time-honoured distinction between necessary medical treatments in pregnancy and the deliberate targeting of the baby in the womb with the aim of ending its life?
The most recent opinion poll findings show that 70% of the public support constitutional protection for the unborn,13% oppose it and 16% don’t know or have no opinion.
What marks this finding out from polls showing support for abortion is the distinction it makes between necessary medical treatments in pregnancy and induced abortion, where the aim of the procedure is to target the life of the unborn child.
By all means, let us debate the abortion issue openly, honestly and with all the facts in front of us. But equally, we cannot shy away from the implications of what legal abortion would involve and the brutal reality of abortion, legal up to birth, in countries like Britain.
What’s at stake in this debate is the value of life, and the sad experience is that once laws permitting abortion are introduced, they diminish the society’s respect for the inherent value of every human life, born or unborn.
What we need now is a calm, respectful national discussion, in which the latest medical and scientific evidence is fully considered leading to a solution at a Constitutional level, which will ensure the full protection of all human beings, mothers and unborn children, on the basis of respect for their equal dignity and worth.
Family and Life:
ECHR Demands that Ireland Permit Abortions
Lifesite News article here.The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that, by not legislating for the X Case, Ireland has breached the rights of a woman who claimed her pregnancy endangered her life. The court interpreted the ‘X Case’ ruling of the Irish Supreme Court in 1992 as establishing a Constitutional “right” to abortion where a pregnant woman’s life is at risk. The ruling will put pressure on the Irish Government to introduce legislation or official guidelines on access to abortion for women in similar situations. The ECHR cannot enforce its ruling, however, and the Irish Government could decide to ignore or reject it. Many other member states of the Council of Europe have, in the past, disregarded decisions of this court which they found to be unacceptable. The ECHR unanimously ruled this morning that the rights of one of three women who took a case challenging Ireland’s abortion laws were breached because she had no “effective or accessible procedure” to establish her right to a “lawful abortion”. The woman—known only as “C”—had a rare form of cancer and feared it would relapse when she became pregnant. She claimed she was unable to find a doctor willing to make a determination as to whether her life would be at risk if she continued to term. In the absence of any medical evidence, the court concluded that neither the “medical consultation nor litigation options” relied on by the Government constituted “effective or accessible procedures”. “Moreover, there was no explanation why the existing constitutional right had not been implemented to date,” the court ruled, referring to the X Case judgement. “Consequently, the court concluded that Ireland had breached the third applicant’s—C’s—right to respect for her private life given the failure to implement the existing Constitutional right to a lawful abortion in Ireland.” “Today’s judgement represents a total disregard for either the right to life of the unborn or the practice of medicine in Ireland and can only be described as politically motivated interference in the sovereignty of the Republic of Ireland,” commented David Manly of Family & Life. The court ruled that there had been no violation of the rights of the two other women involved in the case—A and B. All three women were supported in their litigation by the pro-abortion Irish Family Planning Association, an organisation which receives state funding. Its involvement in this case is part of a radical campaign to undermine the fundamental right to life of the unborn child. The Irish Government robustly defended Ireland’s ban on abortion before the court and said Ireland’s abortion laws were based on “profound moral values deeply embedded in Irish society”. Today’s judgement makes a mockery of the very notion of human rights by ignoring the most fundamental right of all, the right to life. If the government believes what it argued in this case, then it must act to ensure that current medical practice which ensures that essential medical treatment is provided to all women in Ireland continues. Medical interventions necessary to save a mother’s life, even if the life of her unborn child is unintentionally lost, are legal and available, but the deliberate killing of the unborn must remain a crime. The Supreme Court Judgement of 1992 was a bad judgement which attempted to circumvent the will of the people as expressed in the pro-life amendment to the Constitution. The state has rightly declined to legislate based on this bad judgement. Its primary obligation is to protect the vulnerable and vindicate the rights of the unborn child, either through legislation or by referendum. Ireland is the safest place in the world to be born or to give birth. Let’s keep it that way.
Please :- 1) Contact the the following leaders today and tell them that the government must ensure that this ruling does not open the door to legalised abortion in Ireland. 2) Speak up for the right to life of the unborn in discussions on this issue—in the media; on social networks, blogs etc., and when talking to family and friends.