The European Court of Human Rights has refused to impose a European Roe v. Wade. Three women sued Ireland because the country outlaws abortion. But the Court ruled that there is no “right” to abortion in the European Convention, and hence Ireland’s law remains in effect. From The Corner, byline William Saunders, senior vice president for legal affairs, Americans United for Life:

The European Court of Human Rights today released its judgment in ABC v. Ireland, a case in which three unnamed women claimed a right to abortion under the European Convention on Human Rights sufficient to trump Ireland’s own pro-life constitutional provisions. First, the good news. The ECHR held there was no right to abortion under the convention, which is binding on 47 nations. Thus, each nation may decide for itself what to do about abortion. While this is good news, it shouldn’t be surprising — the convention never mentions the word “abortion.”

Lest you think Saunders’ pro life perspective clouded his judgement (I know Bill, he wouldn’t do that), this similar analysis from the Huffington Post:
The European Court of Human Rights’ ruling on Ireland’s abortion laws prompted a flurry of misleading headlines and inaccurate reporting this morning. The Irish Times’ headline said: “Irish abortion laws breach human rights, court rules,” RTE led with “Human rights violated by abortion ban” and even CNN chimed in with “Court condemns Irish ban on abortion.”

In fact, the court specifically ruled that Ireland’s abortion laws are compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. It merely found that there should be a better procedure in place to enforce the existing laws, and that the lack of an adequate procedure breached one applicant’s right to privacy. Substantive Irish abortion law stands untouched. The Court found that Ireland’s laws “struck a fair balance between the right of the first and second applicants to respect for their private lives and the rights invoked on behalf of the unborn.”

How novel: A high court allowing a sovereign entity to decide a crucial issue of morality and law for itself.  Hello, U.S. Supreme Court!  How about applying this bit of foreign law next time you look overseas for legal guidance?

Articles by Wesley J. Smith

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