The UN Committee on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR), one of the UN’s so-called treaty monitoring bodies, has once again lived up to its sad reputation of being an ideologically tilted institution that, rather than protecting human rights, seeks to manipulate and distort their meaning in order to lend provide the aura of “legitimacy” to lobby groups and politicians who seek to cancel out the rights of the weak and defenceless.
The latest episode in this regrettable development is the Committee’s legal opinion in a case called Mellet v. Ireland, wherein it makes the spurious claim that the Irish ban on abortion violates several articles of the ICCPR. Why? Because it protects the lives of children prenatally diagnosed with a severe impairment.
The Committee’s misguided views have of course made the headlines world-wide, and they may have impressed those who, naively believing that the members of a UN Committee must be serious-minded experts who act in good faith and base their views on solid arguments. It is, perhaps, not altogether due to an oversight that some media (and (worse!) even some legal scholars (such as here and here) have mis-represented these views as a “decision”, thereby suggesting that it is legally binding on the Irish government.
In actual fact, however, the document has no binding character at all – it simply is a more or less well-informed legal opinion. And whoever takes the time to examine it more closely will discover that the Committee not only is rather careless with regard to the underlying facts (it is not even clear whether the applicant had her child aborted, or whether the child was stillborn…), but that its findings are based on a temerarious, probably deliberate, mis-interpretation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and in particular the Covenant’s Article 7, which prohibits all forms of “inhuman and degrading treatment”. The bottom line is that a law that protects the life of an unborn child that is expected to be born with a severe handicap or to die soon after birth inflicts, believe it or not, an “inhuman and degrading treatment” on the pregnant mother.
The truly breathtaking hypocrisy of the Committee is quickly understood when one considers the way in which it twists language:
- It is claimed that a mother should not be forced to continue a “non-viable” pregnancy – but “non-viable” usually means that a fetus has not (yet) reached a state of development that would allow it to survive outside the mother’s womb. In actual fact what the applicant was really worried about was that her child might be “viable”, i.e. born alive.
- It is claimed that the child was “stillborn” when in actual fact it was killed inside, and then extracted from, the mother’s womb.
- It is claimed that the Irish State “inflicted an inhuman and cruel treatment” on the applicant, while in fact the Irish State did not inflict any treatment at all on her. In actual fact the decision to travel to England for an abortion, and all the unpleasant consequences that this may have entailed, were the applicant’s own choice. Had she remained in Ireland, she might have given birth to a stillborn baby, or to a baby that might have lived for some days, some weeks, or even some years.
- It is absolutely astonishing to see that the Committee fails to give even the slightest trace of consideration to the unborn child’s right to life – as if the child were not a human being. In failing to protect the rights of the weakest and most vulnerable members of human society, the Committee turns the very concept of “human rights” into a tragic absurdity.
One must conclude that people who are weak and sick (or expected to be born such) have no human rights that need to be considered. And what is “cruel and inhuman” is not any “treatment” that the Irish State may have “inflicted” on the applicant, but simply the prospective of having to spend some weeks or even some years of her life with a handicapped child – something that apparently she had not planned for…
Of course this opinion tells us nothing about the correct interpretation of the ICCPR, but it tells us a lot about the Committee, which should be dissolved today rather than tomorrow. Indeed, this Committee has never prevented any country from committing real human rights abuses – but its self-given mission appears to be to provide a moral fig-leaf for those who seek to cancel out the human rights of the weak, the defenceless, the sick, the unborn, the handicapped, or the elderly…
But there is another point that deserves attention. If the Committee issues such an opinion precisely at this time, it is because it is aware that the current Irish government, always keen to “modernize” the country with regard to social mores, is willing to take the cue. A government that has unreservedly embraced the agenda of same-sex “marriage” and the destruction of the family can be safely expected to support the abortion agenda as well. And this is precisely what is happening: the new Minister for (seeking to murder) Children, militant lesbian activist Katherine Zappone, has immediately seized upon the occasion to call for (yet another) referendum that will allow to get rid of Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution, the provision that recognizes the right to life as from the moment of conception.
Does anyone really believe that the UN bureaucrats and its allies inside the Irish Government are concerned about human dignity? No, they are seeking for a possibility to make child-killing legal in Ireland, one of the last Western countries where it isn’t.