Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Irish Catholic bishops’ aid groups pull out of ‘human rights’ report over abortion

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

DUBLIN, April 27, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Irish Catholic bishops have pulled their support for a “human rights” initiative that calls for Ireland to drop its legal protections for the unborn.

A group of NGOs, called the Civil Society Coalition, led by the heavily pro-abortion Irish Council for Civil Liberties and the Irish Family Planning Association, an affiliate of Planned Parenthood International, launched the campaign in the new year. The group has now issued a report, titled, “Your Rights, Right Now,” that it will present to the United Nations as Ireland undergoes its first Universal Periodic Review of human rights by the UN.

Two of the Irish Catholic bishops’ official social service organizations, Trócaire and Crosscare, which had been listed on the group’s website, announced after the weekend that they would be pulling out of the group and removing their endorsement of the report because of its promotion of legalized abortion. 

A Trócaire spokesman said that the organization, which focuses on aid to the developing world, had never been asked to endorse the report specifically, saying that the matter had never been discussed by their management group.

The move by Trócaire to pull its support was followed by a similar move by Crosscare, the bishops’ domestic social service agency. A Crosscare spokesman said, “To avoid any further link between Crosscare and a call for the legalisation of abortion ... Crosscare Migrant Project asked for its endorsement of this report to be removed from the ‘Your rights right now’ website.”

On Tuesday, Dublin’s Vincentian Refugee Centre also requested that its endorsement of the report be removed from the website.

The 27-page report makes only 17 recommendations, number 12 of which is the demand for immediate action by the government to ensure abortion is legalized in Ireland.

Labour party Minister of State for Disability, Equality and Mental Health, Kathleen Lynch, was on hand at the launch of the report, and told media that Ireland needed immediately to enact legislation “to clarify the circumstances under which an abortion may be lawful.”

“I do know that this issue has been discussed already in Cabinet, because at the end of the day we have a High Court, Supreme Court judgment coming down the tracks at us,” Lynch said.

The Labour party has pushed the legalization of abortion since the release of the ruling handed down earlier this year in the notorious ABC Case at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Labour party leader Eamonn Gilmore had claimed during the recent election campaign that the ECHR ruling required Ireland to change its constitution to abolish restrictions on abortion. The party has pushed for non-constitutional means to bring legal abortion into Ireland, fearing the massive popular support for the existing law.

Niamh Ui Bhriain, head of the Life Institute, told LifeSiteNews.com that the drafting of the report had been “hijacked by the abortion campaigners, who then used the good reputation of other organisations to further their own pro-abortion agenda.”

“What kind of human rights advocates see the killing of children as an answer to anything? And who would endorse such a report?” she said.

Support for the report was garnered, she said, by underplaying the abortion issue and emphasizing the need for improved services for people with disabilities.

“It’s very clear,” Ui Bhriain told LSN, “that lots of these organizations didn’t even know their endorsement was being put to the entire report.”

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