LETTTER: Extent of opposition to repeal not reflected

March 11th, 2017 5:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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SIR – The functions of the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission (IHREC) are set out in law. These are to ensure that ‘there is respect for, and protection of, everyone’s human rights; and for the dignity and worth of each person.’ 

How it carries out those functions is vested in an appointed board of directors. Its website says that it aims ‘to build a culture of respect for human rights and equality.’ 

This €6 million state-funded body is now campaigning for abortion using taxpayers’ money. In its statement to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on February 13th in Geneva, and in its report submitted to the committee in January, it focused on ‘a woman’s right to bodily autonomy’ and called for Ireland ‘to revise its legal framework on abortion,’ quoting statements by various UN committees.

This is the language used by abortion campaigners to frame the news about terminating innocent lives in calling for the repeal of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution – a provision that saves the lives of innocent children who have a basic human right to life.

The IHREC, like Amnesty International, places all the right in the mother on the basis of ‘bodily autonomy’ but denies the unborn and defenceless child any right at all to life. It chooses to ignore the responsibility held by the mother. 

In other words, bodily autonomy trumps responsibility to ensure that there is respect for, and protection of, the baby’s right to life, and the baby has no dignity or worth in the view of the IHREC. How can the IHREC align that view with its legal functions and building ‘a culture of respect from human rights and equality’? Where is the equality for the baby?

Its report to above UN Committee contains fascinating evidence to support its campaign for abortion. In footnote 447, it states that, during its consultation with women on the status of the 8th Amendment, the responses were for its repeal. Specifically, it states all 10 written submissions, all 155 responses to an online survey, all results from three regional meetings, and 44 out of 49 views recorded at the National Ploughing Championships supported repeal. Only five individual views supported retention to save lives and build a ‘culture of equality’.

Based on this amazing evidence that appears very suspect against 70% of published submissions to the Citizens’ Assembly supporting retention of the 8th Amendment, plus the existence of several active pro-life groups throughout the country, plus the public debate that abortion generates, the IHREC goes to the UN and seeks repeal for reasons that are inconsistent with its legal functions. 

Its report disguises the vast extent of the opposition to repealing the 8th Amendment. Is this more alternative facts and fake news in the post-truth era? 

Matt Moran,


near Cork.

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