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from FaithWorld:

European human rights court faults Ireland on abortion ban

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echr (Photo: European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, January 30, 2009/Vincent Kessler)

The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Ireland on Thursday for stopping a Lithuanian cancer sufferer from terminating a pregnancy, in a blow to the predominantly Catholic country and its tough abortion laws. In a final ruling, the rights court found Ireland had not respected the privacy and family rights of the Lithuanian woman, who was living in Ireland and feared a pregnancy could trigger a relapse of her cancer, in remission at the time.

The court, based in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, ordered Ireland to pay 15,000 euros ($19,840) in damages to the woman, who was forced to travel to Britain, where the laws are more liberal, to have an abortion. Terminating a pregnancy has long been a fraught issue in Ireland, where some of the toughest abortion laws in Europe allow terminations only when the mother's life is in danger.

"The Court concluded that neither the medical consultation nor litigation options, relied on by the Irish government, constituted effective and accessible procedures which allowed (her) to establish her right to a lawful abortion in Ireland," it said a statement on the ruling. Here is a court press release and the full text of the judgment.

Ireferendum 1reland's Health Minister Mary Harney said the government would have to introduce a law clarifying when abortion is legal in Ireland. Currently, a woman can have a termination if she has cervical cancer, an ectopic pregnancy or high blood pressure. "Clearly we have to legislate there is no doubt about that," she told national broadcaster RTE.  "I think the essence of the judgment is that we have constitutional provisons and we need to give legal effect to them."

from FaithWorld:

Could Irish abortion case lead to a “European Roe v. Wade”?

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European Court of Human Rights,30 Jan 2009/Vincent Kessler

Ireland has defended its strict law against abortion at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg in a case that could overturn that ban if the judges agree with three women who said it endangered their health and violated their rights.  The women, two Irish and one Lithuanian living in Ireland, had travelled to Britain to have abortions because traditionally Catholic Ireland allows the procedure only when the mother's life is in danger. Read our full story on Wednesday's hearing here.

The three women, named only as A, B and C, argued they had to terminate their pregnancies due to medical and social problems, and that being forced to travel abroad for abortions meant submitting to inhumane treatment that violated their right to privacy. They also said the law constituted gender-based discrimination.

When is a life not a life?

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foetus.jpgMPs vote on Tuesday on the various amendments on abortion that have been tacked on to the The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

These variously suggest the current 24-weeks limit on termination should be reduced to 22, 20, 18, 16 or even 13 weeks.

Media’s views on the abortion vote

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embryo1.jpgAs MPs prepare to vote on cutting the time limit for abortions, the Daily Mail says the current system “shames our nation”.

Foetuses are being aborted at a late stage in their development when they would have had a good chance of survival outside the womb, the Mail says in an editorial.

Tuesday’s front pages

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mailfrontpagemay5.JPGThe destruction and loss of life caused by the cyclone in Burma features on many of the broadsheet front pages, while Chelsea’s win, which keeps the title race going until the final day of the football season, is promoted in all the papers.

DAILY MAIL: Abortion: Fight to Save 2,500 Babies Every Year

MPs will begin a fight to cut the number of abortions by limiting a woman’s right to have a termination for social reasons, from the current 24 weeks to 20, the paper says. Story here

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