United Nations finally agree that ‘incompatible with life’ label is dehumanising – Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described the decision of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to seek an end to the term ‘incompatible with life’ as a watershed moment for the rights of the unborn child. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the CRPD also made it clear that allowing for abortion on the grounds of disability was in violation of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:

“In 2015 I travelled to the UN in Geneva with the support group Every Life Counts to help launch the Geneva Declaration on Perinatal Care.

As part of that process we sought an end to the use of the term ‘incompatible with life’ on the grounds that it dehumanised and degraded children with severe life limiting conditions.

It was also the back of a Private Members Bill I had introduced at the time that sought to regulate against the use of the term in the Irish health care system.

I am absolutely delighted that the CRPD have taken the concerns of the families on board and have sought to have this profoundly derogatory term removed from acceptable use.

I am now calling on Minister of State for Disabilities, Finian McGrath, to immediately support this decision by the CRPD and to follow it up by seeking to introduce guidelines on the matter.

I am also calling on the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, and indeed the Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone, to declare support for an end to this dehumanising and discriminatory term.

The CRPD has made it absolutely clear that “often it cannot be said if an impairment is fatal” on the grounds that “experience shows that assessments on impairment conditions are often false”.

They have also added that, even if the diagnosis of a life-limiting condition is correct, the label “perpetuates notions of stereotyping disability as incompatible with a good life.”

Once and for all let us put aside this absurd, medically meaningless and ideologically grounded phrase ‘incompatible with life,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

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