Wednesday, August 10, 2005

This could prove interesting - can it really be a "Human right" to terminate the life of another human, albeit one that's not yet been born?

Abortion is a tricky issue at the best of times, but when you've got 25 countries involved - many of which are Catholic - it gets even more so. Which is precisely why there are currently no EU laws on abortion.

Are foetuses covered by the European Convention of Human Rights? If these women lose, it would tend to imply they are - and so surely abortion should become illegal throughout the EU? If they win, the European Court of Human Rights will essentially be declaring Catholic doctrine to be against human rights - which would itself surely be a breach of the "human right" to freedom of religion?

13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad Nosemonkey - the ECHR is not an EU body, but a Council of Europe body. This one goes out to the Norwegians as well. And Winston's ghost, of course.

Chris

8/10/2005 04:32:00 pm  
Blogger sean said...

Again OT, sorry NM - but thought I'd keep ya up to speed on my obsessive wonky research.
Here's another report on Vauxhall from the Sydney Morning Herald. Just gets weirder and weirder. I'm back to thinking its a mass hysteria attack again.

Starts:

"Another suspected backpack bomber may have been foiled on London's Tube service.

Just hours after running for her life, Victoria, 33, told smh.com.au by phone that the Victoria line underground train had stopped at Vauxhall station at about 9.20am (London time) on Friday when people started to panic.

"They were yelling 'smoke, bomb, run'. It was absolute mayhem. People were running for their lives - people were getting knocked over ... there was shock and confusion, no one knew what was going on."

Victoria said she saw and smelled smoke inside the tube station before she rushed up the escalators and out of the station. Tube staff at the top of the escalators were trying to calm people down and were telling them to walk, not run, she said.

Once outside, Victoria, who lives in southwest London and works for a charity, helped a woman in her late 20s who was having an asthma attack. The woman told her that the mayhem had been caused by a man two carriages behind Victoria's.

"Supposedly he threw his backpack up in the air and I think some guys tried to push him down. Smoke started coming out, of the backpack I think, and then people started running."

8/10/2005 04:37:00 pm  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

Sorry - didn't mean to imply it was, merely that the EU takes ECHR rulings fairly seriously, so may feel obliged to legislate to help enforce any ruling - pretty much the only option to force compliance.

Non-EU signatories who failed to comply with an ECHR ruling could be threatened with explusion from the Council of Europe by the Committee of Ministers, but that (to my knowledge) has never yet happened. Therefore, from what I can work out, it is only via the EU that an ECHR ruling on abortion could actually be enforced.

8/10/2005 04:42:00 pm  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

This is just one of the reasons why the concept of "Human Rights" is an idiotic thing to sign up to.

DK

8/10/2005 04:54:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DK, do you know where the concept of 'Human Rights' originated, and why certain political elites (as well as other people) decided that it was a Good Thing to take it up and formalise it?

[clue: what lasted from 1933 to 1945?]

Chris

8/10/2005 05:20:00 pm  
Blogger dearieme said...

Anonymous, are you saying that the whole Human Rights doctrine was invented to solve a problem that had already been permanently solved by warfare? No wonder it's all so idiotic.

8/10/2005 05:52:00 pm  
Blogger D-Notice said...

The ECHR has already said (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3876311.stm) that a foetus doesn't have a right to life - a Vietnamese woman sued the French govt to rule that it did - so she could win her case.

However, it may fail on Art 8.2 (right to respect for private life), if the court considers it "necessary in a democratic society ... for the protection of health or morals", but she may get it under Art 3 (prohibition of torture), as it includes the prohibition of degrading treatment, which is one of their other grounds & has no exceptions.

8/10/2005 06:47:00 pm  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

Chris,

Yes I am aware of why it was decided to formalise Human Rights; however, they should be guidlines, no more.

Here we have a wonderful example of why Human Rights should never have been integrated into law. It's a fucking stupid concept. Any law can be argued. I could argue that it's my right to play loud music, whilst my neighbour could declare that it is his right not to have to listen to my music.

I could claim that it's my right to have an abortion and others could claim... that... er... hang on a sec...

DK

8/10/2005 08:32:00 pm  
Anonymous soru said...

Human rights: good
law: good

Therefor, human rights law must be double plus good, right? It stands to reason, merge two good concepts together, you always get a better one.

8/11/2005 12:02:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting implications for Northern Ireland....

In a few years, it is possible that there will be a very very narrow Nationalist majority there. The demographics are tricky. If there is a referendum on joining the South, the biggest real issue will be abortion - if the North joined the South as things are abortion would become illegal over night... I can't think of a case in recent times where a country went from the liberal UK policy on abortion (virtually on demand) to abolition.

I suspect that a substantial number of women in the Nationalist community up north regrad this as a stumbling block for them voting for unification. Any such defection from the nationalist cause would block reunification.

8/11/2005 09:40:00 am  
Blogger David Ham said...

Nosemonkey, your logic about foetuses being covered by the ECHR just doesn't add up. The plaintiffs here are alledging that various rights under ECHR entitle them to abortions. If they lose, it merely means that abortion is not a right which is a consequence of that treaty. It is completely irrelevant to the question of whether foetuses are covered by the ECHR and I'm not aware of anyone arguing that they are.

And on the EU/ECHR thing: while the individual member states of the EU take the ECHR seriously, the EU isn't a signatory (well the EU isn't a signatory to anything but the EC isn't a signatory to ECHR) and the ECHR certainly doesn't create legislative power for the EU. I severely doubt that the EU has power to pass abortion laws (which are pure criminal law, an area where the EU has almost no competence). Even if it did it would be a justice and home affairs power requiring unanimity so the chance of getting the legislation past a Polish and/or Irish veto would be bugger all squared.

8/11/2005 10:42:00 am  
Blogger David Ham said...

Anonymous, you are incorrect. The Abortion Act, 1967 (UK) does not apply in Northern Ireland. There have been recend court cases which make the law in Northern Ireland less clear but basically it is very hard to get an abortion there. See here for more information.

In any event your supposition assumes that reunification in Ireland would necessarily be an immediate all-in affair. Isn't some sort of self government within Ireland more likely (like they are trying to do within the UK now)?

8/11/2005 11:05:00 am  
Blogger Cedalion said...

I have to back up David Ham on this. If you get a girl up the duff in NI, and you don't want to keep it, then you have to pay for a ticket "across the water." Northern Ireland has a separate set of laws, and given its conservative society, its no real surprise that abortion doesn't happen in NI. Another thing to bear in mind is that the legal age is 17, not 16. Something to mull over when you are next out in Belfast on a stag night etc.

8/11/2005 11:38:00 am  

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