Senators and TDs tasked with turning the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly on abortion into concrete legislative proposals will ask a representative of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which is criticized by pro-life groups over its pro-abortion stance, to make a contribution to its deliberations, after the organisation repeatedly accused Ireland of failing to meet its international human rights ‘obligations’.
The UN committee has persistently raised concerns over the state’s criminalisation of abortion and refusal to make the procedure available to rape victims or women whose unborn children show signs of foetal abnormalities. Critics point out that no UN document enshrines a right to an abortion.
It is also expected that the committee will hear from experts that any law requiring a woman to prove that she was raped before she could access an abortion would not work.
The committee, which is expected to call for a referendum on abortion, will hold its first public meeting on September 20th.
On November 1, it will hear from Tom O’Malley, a senior law lecturer at NUI Galway, and Noeline Blackwell, chief executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre on the possibility of making abortion available to rape victims. Both told the citizens’ assembly that any law that made exceptions for rape victims would not work because it would be too difficult for women to prove.