UN Report Criticises Abortion Laws

A report by the UN has hit out at Ireland's "highly restrictive" abortion laws.

It also argued that the legislation should be changed.

The newly-published report, made recommendations on 19 areas of "concern", its human rights panel said. The UN report said that Ireland's abortion law should be amended in order "to provide for additional exceptions in cases of rape, incest, serious risks to the health of the mother, or fatal foetal abnormality."

Included in its recommendations, it called for a "prompt, independent and thorough investigation into all allegations of abuse" against women and children in state-funded homes; as well as an investigation into cases of symphysiotomy.

Symphysiotomy is a surgical procedure where the pelvis is broken during childbirth to allow a baby to be born. It is thought around 1,500 women underwent the procedure between the 1920s and 1984.

According to reports, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has called for a full parliamentary debate on the report. Its director, Mark Kelly, explained that the recommendations have been caused by the "ongoing failure in our law, policy and practice to respect the human rights, autonomy and bodily integrity of women".

Previously, the Irish Government has said a referendum is needed in order to change abortion laws.


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