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Lisbon will kill babies

by Frank Schnittger Mon Jul 13th, 2009 at 09:41:32 PM EST

Richard Greene is spokesman for Cóir a conservative pressure group opposed to the Lisbon Treaty.  The Irish Times has been giving a lot of its letters page space to anti-Lisbon campaigners repeating the same few arguments, but it has really outdone itself by giving space for an op-ed piece to Richard Green complete with an emotive picture of a baby apparently surrounded by red tape. The Irish Times must be desperate to try and improve its circulation figures by stoking up some controversy.  July can be a desperately slow month for news.


The core of his argument is that:
Yes vote on Lisbon could open door for abortion - The Irish Times - Tue, Jul 14, 2009

So the guarantees have no real legal effect. In fact, they are merely political promises - the sort that we know, from bitter experience, are broken daily.

But what of the future protocols promised by the EU - which may or may not be attached to a future treaty at some date? Several problems arise with this proposed means of securing our right to decide on abortion and other issues.

Firstly, when the Government says it promises to bring forward at some future date a protocol on, for example, abortion, that's a promise we cannot hold them to. We don't know the wording of these proposed protocols or whether they will ever actually come to pass.

Secondly, and more importantly, while such protocols would have legal standing, the same problem as before still arises (and is the reason why anti-abortion people voted No to Lisbon despite the Maastricht protocol). That problem is the Charter of Rights attached to the treaty which becomes legally binding on all EU member states if Lisbon is passed.

That charter, and the fact that we will be citizens of a new EU super state, will be the basis of a legal challenge to Ireland's abortion laws which will surely be brought before the European Court of Justice. This court would have enormously enhanced powers to decide on social and moral issues, such as abortion, under the Lisbon Treaty.

This is the core of the problem. Any protocol on the right to life (or on family law) can come into conflict with the charter - and the European Court of Justice can use the charter to overrule the conflicting protocol and impose abortion on the Irish people.

In other words, the matter will still be in the hands of the European Court of Justice, not the Irish people, if the Lisbon Treaty is passed.

First of all, as I pointed out in When anti-Lisbon becomes anti-EU, Lisbon doesn't change the jurisdiction of the ECJ.  We accepted its primacy when we joined the EU.

But Richard Greene's real problem seems to be with the CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION.  However nowhere does he quote what section of the Charter he is concerned about.

In case you haven't read it, I quote what appears to me to be the most relevant sections:

Article 2

Right to life

  1. Everyone has the right to life.
  2. No one shall be condemned to the death penalty, or executed.

Article 3

Right to the integrity of the person

  1. Everyone has the right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity.
  2. In the fields of medicine and biology, the following must be respected in particular:
— the free and informed consent of the person concerned, according to the procedures laid down by
law,
— the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at the selection of persons,
— the prohibition on making the human body and its parts as such a source of financial gain,
— the prohibition of the reproductive cloning of human beings.

Article 4

Prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 5

Prohibition of slavery and forced labour

  1. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.
  2. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
  3. Trafficking in human beings is prohibited.

CHAPTER II

FREEDOMS

Article 6

Right to liberty and security
Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.

Article 7

Respect for private and family life
Everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, home and communications

Nowhere is abortion mentioned, or anything which might be construed as supporting the procedure.  The other thing which is striking is how clear and unambiguous is the language used.  Whatever criticism may be justly levelled at the complexity of the Lisbon Treaty itself, that criticism cannot be levelled at the Charter.

Just precisely what sections does Richard Greene have a problem with, or is he just scare-mongering as usual?

I have drafted a LTE in response, but don't have any expectation that it will be published.

Madam,- You have given considerable space to correspondents on your letters and opinion pages urging us to vote NO on the Lisbon Treaty on the grounds that it makes us subject to the rulings of the European Court of Justice (EJC).  

However the Third Amendment to the Irish Constitution which ratified our membership of the EU in 1972 clearly states that "No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State necessitated by the obligations of membership of the Communities or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the Communities, or institutions thereof, from having the force of law in the State."

In other words we accepted the primacy of EU law and the EJC when we joined the EU and new constitutional amendments are only required when we confer additional powers to the EU.  The recent ruling of the German Consitutional Court reaffirms the same thing, except that in Germany, a referendum is not required to transfer additional powers to the EU.

Richard Green's Opinion piece (July 14th.) - complete with picture of a baby surrounded by red tape - makes the further point that the CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION might be interpreted by the ECJ to provide a right of abortion.  However, nowhere does he mention what section of the Charter he is concerned about.  There is in fact no section dealing with abortion and plenty dealing with the right to life and the rights of the child.

The CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION is a very simple and well written document which does not require a lawyer's training to read and understand.  It is a clear, unambiguous and wholly positive affirmation of basic human rights and decencies which should be the basis of any civilised society.  Perhaps Mr. Greene would be so good as to point out which sections he objects to.

Display:
I suppose it would be churlish for you to mention in the letter that it was people like Mr. Greene who, because of their dark fantasies about what they thought EU might impose on Ireland, actually made abortion legal in certain circumstances (in principle if not in practice)? The fact that they continues to pursue this line of argument, given the damage they have already done to their own declared aims as a result, demonstrates a remarkable brass neck. The words "hole" and "stop digging" come to mind. I guess they are trying to distract from their own culpability in the matter.

Regarding the letter, why not simply quote the section as you do above and merely close with your challenge: "Perhaps Mr. Greene would be so good as to point out which sections he objects to". That would also probably not get published, but the wording of the text is so clear and simple that it could definitely do with more exposure.

by det on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 02:59:40 AM EST
Thanks - I'd love it if more people would actually read the charter, so I will include the section as you suggest.  However long letters don't get published unless they are from SOMEBODY the Times deems significant.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 07:00:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then you might want to do what some friends of mine did - construct a think-tank. As think-tanks has no real definition you avoid the need to actually have an organisation and gets instant titles for everyone. Like: Frank Schnittger - president of the INSTANT think tank!

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 07:11:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But I thought I had done that... see  On Liberty and Libertas - Can I be a "Think Tank" too?

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 07:35:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But you have to be a lot more pretentious to be a belief think tank.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 02:22:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe you'll find this is the section exercising him:

Prohibition of slavery and forced labour

  • No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

  • No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

  • Trafficking in human beings is prohibited.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 03:48:56 AM EST
The CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION is a very simple and well written document which does not require

You have it written as "requite" rather than "require".

Other than that, looks good.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 06:13:40 AM EST
Thanks Drew - given that lawyers are almost impossible to requite I suppose a change is required!

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 06:57:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought the charter covers about the same areas as the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms which Ireland must have signed in 1950 or so. Though those rights are interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights which is a different court, so even if the areas are the same the procedure is different.

Until now I have viewed getting the EU to accept a similar set of basic rights as the member-states does as a good thing, it incorporates the respect for those rights in an earlier phase in the EU-legislative process. Though now realising that the charter and the convention differs I find one very disturbing ban in the charter:

-- the prohibition of the reproductive cloning of human beings.

No army of clones? Where is the fun in that?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 06:17:31 AM EST
Madam,- You have given considerable space to correspondents on your letters and opinion pages urging us to vote NO on the Lisbon Treaty on the grounds that it makes us subject to the rulings of the European Court of Justice (EJC).  

However the Third Amendment to the Irish Constitution which ratified our membership of the EU in 1972 clearly states that

"No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State necessitated by the obligations of membership of the Communities or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the Communities, or institutions thereof, from having the force of law in the State."

In other words we accepted the primacy of EU law and the EJC when we joined the EU and new constitutional amendments are only required when we confer additional powers to the EU.  The recent ruling of the German Consitutional Court reaffirms the same thing, except that in Germany, a referendum is not required to transfer additional powers to the EU.

Richard Green's Opinion piece (July 14th.) - complete with picture of a baby/foetus surrounded by red tape - makes the further point that the CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION might be interpreted by the ECJ to provide a right of abortion.  

However, nowhere does he mention which section of the Charter he is concerned about.  There is in fact no section dealing with abortion and plenty dealing with the right to life and the rights of the child

The CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION is a very simple and well written document which does not require a lawyer's training to read and understand.  It is a clear, unambiguous and wholly positive affirmation of basic human rights and decencies which should be the basis of any civilised society.

Perhaps Mr. Greene would be so good as to point out which sections he objects to, the most relevant of which appear to be the following:

"Article 2: Right to life

  1. Everyone has the right to life.

  2. No one shall be condemned to the death penalty, or executed.

Article 3: Right to the integrity of the person

  1. Everyone has the right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity.

  2. In the fields of medicine and biology, the following must be respected in particular:

-- the free and informed consent of the person concerned, according to the procedures laid down by
law,
-- the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at the selection of persons,
-- the prohibition on making the human body and its parts as such a source of financial gain,
-- the prohibition of the reproductive cloning of human beings.

Article 4: Prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 5: Prohibition of slavery and forced labour

  1. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

  2. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

  3. Trafficking in human beings is prohibited.

CHAPTER II: FREEDOMS

Article 6: Right to liberty and security

Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.

Article 7: Respect for private and family life

Everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, home and communications"

Just which sections of the Charter does Mr. Greene object to, or is he just scaremongering as usual?  

And why does he not admit that opposition to the ECJ is also opposition to our membership the EU, as the ECJ is an essential and inseparable part the EU which we agreed to accept on accession in 1973 and whose jurisdiction or powers are not changed in any way by the Lisbon Treaty?

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 07:26:28 AM EST
Hm, definitely too long for an LTE...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 07:30:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, I know, but they often chop letters anyway if they do want to publish.

I'm getting fed up with the Greenes of this world getting all the space.  Maybe we should publish an OPEN Letter from the peoples of the EU as represented on the EUROPEAN TRIBUNE

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 07:42:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now there's an idea.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Jul 14th, 2009 at 12:27:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes vote on Lisbon could open door for abortion

Oh, nooooooes, not that! That's as bad as condoms! That's a terrible threat if I ever heard one.  :D

our right to decide on abortion....
impose abortion on the Irish people.

'STFU, Greene.  I can smell the misoginy from here and the feudal/papal 'we' is awe inspiring, but with all your self-contradictions, you would drown yourself in a plate of water if you're not careful.'

Speaking of the price of beans:  Who's going to 'impose abortion' on the male half of Ireland?  Where in the EU are abortions legally 'imposed'?  

The male Greenes of this world will have the right to decide on abortion the day they get pregnant!  Full Stop.  They are perfectly free to wear a male chastity belt to protect their sacred sperm if they wish, just like the Spanish bishops group, et al.  


Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Thu Jul 16th, 2009 at 12:18:02 PM EST
Madam, – Andrea Pappin (July 16th) shows remarkably poor timing in making the claim that the EU is disinterested in Ireland’s abortion laws.

Just last week a Swedish MP, Birgitta Ohlsson, launched a EU-wide campaign to use the Lisbon Treaty in an attempt to get the EU Commission to pressurise Ireland to introduce abortion. This blatantly undemocratic move comes in the wake of the Catania, Sandbaek, and Von Lancker reports passed by the EU parliament, which not only funded abortion but sought to establish it as an enforceable human right. In the parliament debates on these resolutions, Ireland was sharply criticised by MEPs for outlawing abortion.

Clearly, there is a considerable and vocal cohort in other EU member-states who are far from being disinterested in our laws – and in our right to decide on important social issues.

Cóir’s position is that such parties – or any citizen of any EU state – will be free to use the Charter of Rights which would be made binding by the Lisbon Treaty to challenge Ireland’s pro-life laws in the European Court of Justice. Since the court has never had this legally-binding Charter before, they have simply not had the right to decide our social laws. All that will change utterly if we pass the Lisbon Treaty.

Those are the facts that Cóir will be explaining to as many voters as possible before October 2nd. We will also explain to them something Niall Blaney ( July 16th) does not seem to understand. Any protocol on abortion is legally binding but may be challenged successfully in the future in the EU courts using the Charter of Rights attached to the Lisbon Treaty.

Until such a time as this proposed protocol is ratified however, the so-called guarantees on Lisbon are not legally binding in EU law and, as such, are little more than political promises. – Yours, etc,

RICHARD GREENE,

Cóir,

Capel Street,

Dublin 1.

Madam, – Contrary to what many of your letter writers would like to believe there is indeed a threat to Irish abortion laws from the Lisbon treaty.

The threat is that the EU is pushing to have abortion declared a universal human right (most recently at the UN Geneva meeting this week).

If abortion is upheld as a universal human right under the EU fundamental Charter of Human Rights, which will be legally binding if Lisbon is passed, then Ireland’s laws against abortion will fall.

No EU state will be allowed to deny a European citizen a so-called “universal human right” as determined by the European court of Justice regardless of local law. As for the legal guarantees made by politicians they can and will be overturned by a court of law if they are found to be in breach of the fundamental charter much the same way as Irish laws may be legally binding until found to be repugnant to our constitution. – Yours, etc,

JOHN LACKEN,



notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 18th, 2009 at 11:29:39 AM EST
Apologies that I haven't been following up on active controversy on this issue.  My Broadband has been down for almost a week with no sign of returning...!!!

Lots of good stories I should be blogging:  See

fake Bring back Ganley popular petition website

drastic Friedmandite public servive cuts

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jul 18th, 2009 at 01:21:00 PM EST


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