Mellet v. Ireland, Whelan v. Ireland
United Nations Human Rights Committee
Communication No. 2324/2013 (2016), Communication No. 2425/2014 (2017)
Amanda Mellet and Siobhán Whelan (plaintiffs) were pregnant residents of Ireland (defendant). Mellet and Whelan learned that their pregnancies were not viable due to fetal impairments, but the women were unable to terminate their pregnancies in Ireland because Irish law prohibited and criminalized abortion. Mellet and Whelan thus faced the choice of carrying nonviable pregnancies to term in Ireland or traveling to another country to obtain abortion services. Mellet and Whelan alleged that they suffered physical and mental distress that was heightened by the inability to receive medical care and medical information from familiar and trusted providers in Ireland, the shame and stigma associated with the criminalization of abortion even in the event of a nonviable pregnancy, and the prospect of traveling outside Ireland to obtain an abortion at personal expense and without familiar support structures in place, among other things. Mellet and Whelan filed communications against Ireland with the United Nations Human Rights Committee, asserting violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the covenant). Specifically, Mellet and Whelan asserted violations of (1) article 7 of the covenant, which protects against cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, (2) article 17 of the covenant, which protects against arbitrary or unlawful interference with an individual’s privacy, and (3) article 26 of the covenant, which protects against discrimination.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning ()
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