To protect the unborn child capable of pain (20 weeks) from abortion unless a risk to life

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Hi all,

In light of the recent referendum result (25th May 2018) in which the (8th Amendment) Article 40.3.3º of the Constitution was repealed, I would like to ask the people of Ireland to sign a petition to protect the Unborn child capable of pain from abortion (20 weeks) save in the circumstances in which there is a risk to life of the mother or when the unborn child has Fatal Fetal Abnormality( FFA). It also advocates that an unborn child should receive anaesthetic from at least 20 weeks if an abortion is unavoidable.

Notwithstanding that abortion is such a contentious and emotive issue for all, I want to urge people from both the pro-life, pro-choice groups and those that don’t affiliate with either to sign this petition and let us unite in protecting the unborn from unnecessary pain and suffering as much as possible.

Such legislation would be similar to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which is a United States Congress Bill to ban late-term abortions nationwide after 20 weeks post-fertilization on the basis that the fetus is capable of feeling pain during an abortion at and after that point of pregnancy. The bill was first introduced in Congress in 2013.

In the legislative findings section of the above bill, it states that "Pain receptors (nociceptors) are present throughout the unborn child’s entire body and nerves link these receptors to the brain’s thalamus and subcortical plate by no later than 20 weeks after fertilization," and points out that anaesthetic is routinely administered to fetuses undergoing fetal surgery as evidence that fetuses feel pain.

The bill prohibits all abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization, unless the abortion is judged necessary to save the life of the mother or in cases of reported rape cases.

 Here is a link to this legislation if you would like to learn more about this Act

Due to the proposed General Scheme of Bill for Ireland’s Regulation of The Termination of Pregnancy already encompassing, under Head 7, that termination of pregnancy can be performed up to 12 weeks without restriction for cases of rape/incest, this petition is only including the risk of life of the mother and FFA as an exception past the 20 weeks gestation.

Please note also that the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act does not include the exception of FFA.

Please see the link to the General Scheme to Regulate the Termination of Pregnancy in Ireland for further details on the current proposals

Currently 20 states in America have enacted the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.These states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Arizona and Idaho have passed similar bans, but they were blocked by courts.

When such circumstances of a risk to life of the mother and FFA result in an abortion being unavoidable, this petition advocates unborn child should receive anaesthetic to alleviate the pain of an abortion procedure for the unborn from at least 20 weeks gestation.

Furthermore, it is important to note that such legislation would be supported by the Convention on the Rights of the Child which Ireland agreed to uphold, under its preamble that “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.”

Furthermore while the European Court on Human Rights  ruled in A,B, C V Ireland  that a denial of an abortion/clear legal standing in extreme cases of a risk to life/serious health of the mother was a violation of the mother’s right under  article 8 of the Convention, it is widely accepted that late-term and painful abortions are prohibited.

This is apparent in Vo v. France in which the Court acknowledged that “… the embryo/foetus belongs to the human race” and that he/she “require[s] protection in the name of human dignity.” This principle affords protection to the unborn child against violations of his/her dignity, such as inhuman or degrading treatment in the practices of late or sex-selective abortions, or when it can be proven that the abortion provokes foetal pain.

This was elaborated on in the case of H. v. Norway, in which the father of an aborted child arguing that no measure had been taken to avoid the risk of pain of the fourteen-week-old fetus during the abortion. On this occasion, the former Commission accepted the applicability of Article 3 of the Convention to the unborn child, and only then considered the complaint ill-founded, for lack of evidence of foetal pain at 14 weeks. This means that if the abortion circumstances had been different, such as, for example, in the case of a late abortion of (20 weeks) the complaint could have been well founded.

For more on the European Courts and the abortion I strongly suggest reading the following academic journal by Grégor Puppinck who holds his Ph.D  with a dissertation on medical law and bioethics.  

 Dr, G Puppinck, Abortion and the European Convention on Human Rights, Vol (3) (2) Irish Journal of legal Studies

 I would like to thank each and everyone for supporting the protection of the unborn from pain and suffering.


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