Yesterday David Quinn of the Iona Institute tweeted that “To this day the World Health Organisation recommends symphysiotomy in certain circumstances”.

He did not add that these “certain circumstances” are only as “a life-saving procedure in areas where caesarean section is not feasible or immediately available,” as outlined in the World Health Organisation guidelines for midwives and doctors on managing complications in pregnancy and childbirth.

Nor did he add that the World Health Organisation says that “Risks include urethral and bladder injury, infection, pain and long-term walking difficulty. Symphysiotomy should, therefore, be carried out only when there is no safe alternative.”

Nor did he add that the World Health Organisation’s review conditions for symphysiotomy include that “caesarean section is not feasible or immediately available; and the provider is experienced and proficient in symphysiotomy.”

None of these circumstances remotely compare to the human rights abuses of symphysiotomy practice in Ireland as condemned yesterday by the UN Human Rights Committee.

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The United Nations Human Rights Committee today told Ireland that it should:

  • Revise its legislation on abortion, including its Constitution, to provide for additional exceptions in cases of rape, incest, serious risks to the health of the mother, or fatal foetal abnormality;
  • Swiftly adopt the Guidance Document to clarify what constitutes a “real and substantive risk” to the life of the pregnant woman; and
  • Consider making more information on crisis pregnancy options available through a variety of channels, and ensure that healthcare providers who provide information on safe abortion services abroad are not subject to criminal sanctions.

Last week the Committee was questioning Ireland about its duties under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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The UN Human Rights Committee today told Ireland to stop breaching the human rights of atheists and minority faiths in the education system, employment, religious oaths and blasphemy law.

The UN report published today vindicates all of the complaints raised by Atheist Ireland when we briefed the Human Rights Committee in Geneva last week, and it makes several recommendations that were specifically suggested by Atheist Ireland.

The Committee was questioning Ireland about its duties under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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I discussed the Angelus, human rights abuses, the UN, Saint Patrick and more with George Hook and Ian O’Doherty on The Right Hook on Newstalk Radio today.

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How Irish teacher training breaches the human rights of atheist and non-Christian teachers

July 23, 2014

Last week the UN Human Rights Committee asked the Irish Government if its proposed Bill to amend the Employment Equality Act specifically protects atheist teachers. Here is a concrete example of discrimination against atheist and minority faith teachers in Ireland that will not be changed by the Bill. Saint Patrick’s teacher training College in Dublin offers […]

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The case for assisted dying – my interview on Newstalk Radio

July 19, 2014

As the British House of Lords debated the right to assisted dying yesterday, I discussed the issue on Newstalk Radio with Shane Coleman, Dave McIntyre and Ciara Kelly.

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Irish Government again evades UN questions on oaths, blasphemy and religious discrimination in Irish schools

July 18, 2014

The UN Human Rights Committee has just published the Irish Government’s written response to the questions that they were asked in Geneva this week. The Government gave no additional information on religious oaths or blasphemy, and it evaded several specific questions that the UN asked it about religious discrimination against atheists and minority faith families […]

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The Irish Government’s written response to the UN Human Rights Committee’s questions is now published

July 18, 2014

The UN Human Rights Committee has just published the Irish Government’s written response to the questions that they were asked in Geneva this week. They did not respond to all of the questions they were asked. They responded to some of the questions they were asked, on the following topics: Question 1 – Domestic implementation […]

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Tanaiste defies UN on abortion law, using argument UN has called “totally unacceptable”

July 17, 2014

Tanaiste Joan Burton has defied the UN by saying that majority votes can be used to deny human rights, just two day after Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald had withdrawn the same argument after the UN Human Rights Committee told Ireland that it was “totally unacceptable”. Today’s Irish Independent reports that in the Dail, Joan Burton […]

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UN asks Ireland about religious discrimination in education – my interview on 4FM Radio

July 16, 2014

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has asked Ireland about religious discrimination against atheists in in the Irish education system. Jane Donnelly and I for Atheist Ireland briefed the UN Commitee about this, before the Committee’s meeting with the Irish Government in Geneva. I discussed this on 4FM Radio when we returned from Geneva.

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