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Dublin: 7 °C Friday 19 December, 2014

Amnesty International: ‘Abortion laws out of line with international human rights standards’

Unless rape, incest, risk to a woman’s health and fatal foetal abnormality are included in Ireland’s abortion law, Amnesty International’s 2013 report notes Ireland is off base.

IRELAND’S LACK OF clarity around abortion laws has been highlighted in the Amnesty International Report 2013.

The report, which comments on the state of the world’s human rights issues, highlights the Savita Halappanavar case, stating:

Her case highlighted the lack of clarity in legislation and regulations regarding women’s right to access abortion where their life is at risk.

Interpretation of ‘real and substantial’ risk

The executive director of Amnesty International in Ireland Colm O’Gorman said that in Ireland’s proposed legislation the Government must ensure that the interpretation of ‘real and substantial’ risk a woman’s life will guarantee that women will not be denied timely care. He added:

The timeframes for review procedures are too long and the clauses on conscientious objection are too vague.These have to be reviewed.The proposed 14 year sentence for a woman or doctor obtaining an abortion must be revoked.

Amnesty International has noted that until Ireland’s laws allow for abortion in cases of rape and incest, risk to a woman’s health, or cases of fatal foetal abnormality, they will be out of line with international human rights standards.

The annual report on Ireland also highlighted problems around prison conditions for young offenders and violence against women and girls, stating Ireland is in the minority of countries in Europe that have not signed the Council of Europe Convention on Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, despite committing to do so at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in March of last year.

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