Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/5794
Conflicting Rights : abortion in international human rights law
The object of this thesis is to examine to what extent the foetusʼ right to life is protected in international human rights law and consequently the extent of a womanʼs right to seek an abortion under selected international human rights treaties, in other words, whether the prevailing right before birth of a child is with the foetus or with the pregnant woman. First, the foetus’ right to life will be examined and secondly the possible protection of the pregnant woman. Thirdly the examination will focus on international treaty bodies and European case-law on abortion issues. To emphasize, the main focus will be on whether or not abortion can be regarded as a human right. The examination will focus on the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the American Convention on Human Rights. Ireland will be dedicated special consideration due to the constitutional protection of the foetus in that jurisdiction and the consequently highly restrictive abortion laws that have culminated in a pending Grand Chamber decision from the European Court of Human Rights. These conflict of rights between woman and foetus has always been a controversial issue and consideration of the official human rights institutionsʼ responses to date show that the European Court has side-stepped its judicial role and avoided to declare whether or not the foetus is accorded protection in the Convention and that there is tendency to take abortion-neutral perspectives in other international human rights bodies.
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