A woman’s human rights have been violated by Ireland’s abortion law, according to the United Human Rights Committee.
It ruled that the Irish government must redress the harm caused to Siobhán Whelan when she was denied an abortion in a landmark case in 2010.
It said that the state had violated the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights’ prohibition against cruel, inhuman and discriminatory treatment, and had also breached her right to privacy and equality.
Ms Whelan was forced to travel from the Republic of Ireland to the UK to terminate her pregnancy, despite the fact her foetus had a congenital brain malformation which only 3 per cent of foetuses are expected to survive.
Welcoming the ruling, she said: “I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the committee for its recognition of the harm I suffered, and the violation of my human rights, as a result of Ireland’s abortion laws.
“In taking this case, my hope was to bring about a change in our laws so that when faced with the tragic news of a fatal foetal impairment women would have a choice to end the pregnancy in Ireland and not be forced to carry the pregnancy to term or to travel out of the country to access health care services like I had to do.”
The UNHRC’s also recommended Whelan be provided with psychological treatment and reaffirmed its recommendation that Ireland legalise and widen access to safe abortions.
It is the second time time in 12 months the committee has criticised Irish law, which gives foetuses citizen status and makes abortion a criminal act under the Eighth Amendment.
UK news in pictures
UK news in pictures
1/20 25 June 2017
Police officers on Romford Road in Forest Gate, east London, as people protest over the death of Edir Frederico Da Costa, who died on June 21 six days after he was stopped in a car by Metropolitan Police officers in Woodcocks, Beckton, in Newham, east London
2/20 24 June 2017
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn addresses revellers from the Pyramid Stage at Worthy Farm in Somerset during the Glastonbury Festival
3/20 23 June 2017
British Prime Minister Theresa May addresses a news conference at the EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, June 23, 2017
4/20 22 June 2017
Cosplay fans (L-R) George Massingham, Abbey Forbes and Karolina Goralik travel by tube dressed in Harry Potter themed costumes, after a visit to one the literary franchise's movie filming locations at Leadenhall Market in London, Britain
5/20 22 June 2017
Racegoers cheer on their horse on Ladies Day at the Royal Ascot horse racing meet, in Ascot, west of London
6/20 21 June 2017
A reveller walks among the tipi tents at the Glastonbury Festival of Music and Performing Arts on Worthy Farm near the village of Pilton in Somerset, South West England
7/20 20 June 2017
A police officer lays some flowers passed over by a member of the public, close to Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, after one man died and eight people were taken to hospital and a person arrested after a rental van struck pedestrian
The Borough Market bell is seen in Borough Market in central London following its re-opening after the June 3 terror attack
Two women embrace in Borough Market, which officially re-opens today following the recent attack, in central London
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan attends the re-opening of Borough market in central London following the June 3 terror attack
People walk through Borough Market in central London following its re-opening after the June 3 terror attack
News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, with one of his daughters, visit Borough Market, which officially re-opened today following the recent attack
A woman reacts in front of a wall of messages in Borough Market, which officially re-opened today following the recent attack, in central London
Vivenne Westwood walks the runway at the Vivenne Westwood show during the London Fashion Week Men's June 2017 collections
Millwall fan and London Bridge hero Roy Larner on 'Good Morning Britain'
Richard Arnold, Roy Larner, Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on 'Good Morning Britain'
17/20 11 June 2017
England players celebrate after defeating Venezuela 1-0 to win the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea 2017 at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, South Korea
18/20 11 June 2017
England players celebrate with the trophy after the final match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2017 between Venezuela and England at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, South Korea
19/20 11 June 2017
Great Britain's Alistair Brownlee celebrates winning the Elite Men Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds
Danny Lawson/PA Wire
20/20 11 June 2017
Two men drink beer outside the Southwark Tavern which reopened for business today next to an entrance to Borough Market which remains closed in London
In a similar case last year, UN experts ruled that Amanda Mellet, who had been forced to travel to the UK for an abortion, should be compensated by the Irish state. She was awarded €30,000 (£26,400) in damages by the Irish government.
However, under the country's 2013 Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, abortions may now be provided if a mother's live is in immediate danger.
Right groups criticised the government earlier this week after it emerged that a young girl who thought she was being sent to Dublin for an abortion, was also forcibly sectioned last year.
The case was highlighted in a report published by the Child Care Law Reporting Project.
Abortion Rights Campaign spokesperson Linda Kavanagh said: “Looking at the report, it’s hard not to think that the psychiatrist in this case essentially used the Mental Health Act as a tool to force a child into continuing an unwanted pregnancy because of their own personal beliefs.”
- More about:
- United Human Rights Committee
- Human Rights
- Siobhan Whelan
- Irish government
- Republic of Ireland
- Linda Kavanagh
- Amanda Mellet