Ireland on Trial for Pro-Life Laws

Doubts Cast on Neutrality of European Rights Court

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STRASBOURG, France, DEC. 4, 2009 ( Ireland’s constitution will be on trial Wednesday in the European Court of Human Rights, answering for its defense of human life from the moment of conception.

The Strasbourg-based court will consider the case of A, B and C v. Ireland, a challenge against Irish law brought by three women who allegedly were «forced» to go abroad for abortions, which they claim put their health in danger.

The court will debate about whether the country’s laws violate the European Convention on Human Rights, which stresses the «right to respect for private and family life.»

The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute reported the protest of third-party interveners, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the European Center for Law and Justice and the Alliance Defense Fund (on behalf of Family Research Council), who claim that the European court does not have jurisdiction over this case, as «domestic remedies have not been exhausted.»

The institute pointed out that the «country’s recent approval of the Lisbon Treaty after receiving guarantees that its pro-life constitution would remain unaffected has raised the stakes of the court’s decision.»

As well, it underlined doubts about the court’s «ability to be impartial» where «abortion rights» are concerned.

Two years ago, the same court ruled that Poland must guarantee access to abortion, after the Tysiąc v. Poland case, in which a woman claimed that she lost her eyesight because she was not able to terminate her pregnancy.

The court accused Poland of violating the European convention, based on the testimony of one doctor who supported the woman’s claim, even though eight other specialists ruled that the «ongoing deterioration in eyesight was unrelated to her pregnancy.»

The institute affirmed that the court «credited the one generalist’s opinion over that of eight experts to reach the desired result.»

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