For and against abortion service


Sir, – Gareth T Clifford (November 2nd) appears to misunderstand the position taken by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in regard to abortion services.

The CRPD’s recent statement, to which I presume Mr Clifford refers, relates to paragraph 9 of the UN Human Right’s Committee’s draft General Comment on Article 6 (Right to Life) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This paragraph addresses states’ duties in regulating terminations of pregnancy. The CRPD proposes only to delete text which names foetal impairment as a ground on which abortion must be available to pregnant women. If its proposal is adopted, the reworded sentence will read: “State parties must provide safe access to abortion to protect the life and health of pregnant women, and in situations in which carrying a pregnancy to term would cause the woman substantial pain or suffering.” The draft Paragraph 9 then goes on to say that criminal sanctions should be lifted, as well as “unreasonably burdensome requirements on women seeking to undergo abortion.”

In other words, the CRPD broadly accepts the Human Rights Committee’s call to make abortion more widely available. It simply argues that “foetal impairment” should not be a specified ground. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 7.