Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Legislate for X – Repeal 1861 Act now – Repeal 8th Amendment to Constitution

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An Irish Government finally agrees to legislate for abortion – a very significant victory for women, a practicfal example of the power of mass mobilisation politics – NEVER AGAIN

United Left Alliance Statement :

Legislate for X – Repeal 1861 Act now

Repeal 8th Amendment to Constitution

The ULA welcomes the government’s declaration that legislation for the X Case ruling of the Supreme Court in 1992, despite a delay of twenty years, will finally be brought in next year. There is no need to delay however, in the repeal of Sections 58 and 59 of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act. This piece of repressive law, retained from the time of British rule, makes abortion a criminal act with severe penalties for women and doctors. We call for the immediate repeal of this legislation.

The government must now move swiftly to legalise abortion where continuing a pregnancy would put a woman’s life at risk, as required by the X Case ruling. The legislation must include full recognition that the risk of suicide is as significant as any other risk to life arising from pregnancy – as recognised by the Supreme Court and by the majority of mental health practitioners.

It is time, however, to also recognise the many reasons why thousands of Irish women have abortions every year. The vast majority of the population agree that a risk to the health of a woman should be grounds for the right to an abortion. The majority also think a woman should be able to terminate a pregnancy arising from rape or incest, or where the foetus has a fatal abnormality. Many think that it should be up to a woman, in consultation with her doctor, to decide if she should continue with a pregnancy. We support all of these arguments – which give women the choice.

The Dáil should act in line with these views and with the need for women to be treated equally with men in their rights to healthcare. A man is not denied treatment if his health is at risk. But the 8th Amendment to our Constitution denies abortion even where a pregnancy would ruin a woman’s physical or mental health. That oppressive inequality must end. The 8th Amendment must be repealed. It is time to face the reality that now, when many women are struggling to feed themselves and their children, the need for free, safe, legal abortion in Ireland is more urgent than ever.

Pro-Choice Groups’ Statement :

 

Joint Statement: Pro-choice groups welcome government announcement and call for referendum

Speaking following the government announcement today that it intends to bring forward legislation and regulations on abortion, a broad range of pro-choice groups welcomed the call but said that the government must give commitments on the dates by which this will happen. The groups, which include Irish Choice Network, Choice Ireland, Action on X, Galway Pro-Choice, Cork Women’s Right to Choose and Doctors for Choice said that furthermore this legislation should only be considered a first step towards liberalising abortion laws in Ireland which must include holding a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment to the Constitution.Action on X spokesperson Sinéad Kennedy said;  “We very much welcome this announcement today that a legal framework for abortion in cases of a risk to the life of a pregnant woman will be introduced, including that of suicide. However we are concerned that there is no timeframe or implementation plan included with it. The Expert Group was originally created to delay matters and the government should not be allowed to drag their feet on the issue. This should be the first item of business on the Dáil schedule once they return after Christmas. It has been delayed twenty years already. “Within the legislation that is produced, there must also be no curtailment of a woman’s right to access abortion on the ground that she is suicidal. We are aware that there are moves from some TDs to have this rolled back, however this is a constitutional right confirmed by the Supreme Court decision in the X Case and the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the ABC case. It must be delivered on. Further commenting, Choice Ireland spokesperson Stephanie Lord said;“The government announcement that it will introduce legislation for X is to be welcomed, however it is now time for the government to acknowledge the reality of abortion in Ireland. The next step should be the introduction of a referendum bill that will repeal the 8th amendment. It is inhumane that this has not happened before now. There are 4,500 women that travel overseas for abortion services every year, and many more that order pills online to induce abortions at home. Women have a right to make the best choice for them under their circumstances, and their right to health care must also be upheld. It is now time to introduce free, safe, and legal abortion on demand in Ireland.”

 

Web Link :

Pro-Choice Groups Welcome Government Announcement, Call for Referendum

From the Irish Times :

 

Groups respond to abortion decision

CIARA KENNY

Tue, Dec 18, 2012

Anti-abortion groups have criticised the Government’s intention to introduce legislation for abortion next year based on the Supreme Court’s ruling on the X case.

A combination of legislation and regulations will be introduced to comply with the European Court of Human Rights ruling in the A, B and C case, a statement from the Department of Health said today.

The Government is expected to allow the fear of suicide as a ground for abortion but may not provide for rape or sexual abuse, neither of which formed part of the X case ruling.

Cora Sherlock of the Pro-Life Campaign said it was wrong to base any legislation on the X case, which “heard no medical evidence and contains no duty of care towards the baby”.

Such legislation would “introduce an abortion regime into this country in which the life of the baby could be directly and intentionally targeted for destruction,” she said.

Spokeswoman for the religious advocacy group the Iona Institute Maria Steen said it would be “wrong and unnecessary” to allow abortion in cases where there is deemed to be suicidal intent.

“Irish law already allows the ending of a pregnancy when there is no other choice and there is a clear threat to the life of the mother,” she said.

“A decision to include a threat of suicide as a ground for abortion would also be wrong in principle because it would authorise for the first time ever the deliberate and direct destruction of unborn human life in Ireland.”

Youth Defence spokeswoman Rebecca Roughneen said Fine Gael had broken the “pro-life promise” it made before the 2011 election, and had “bowed to the demands of the Labour Party and other pro-abortion advocates” rather than listening to their voters.

Pro-choice groups welcomed today’s announcement, but said the government must commit to a timeframe for the introduction of legislation.

In a joint statement, Irish Choice Network, Choice Ireland, Action on X, Galway Pro-Choice, Cork Women’s Right to Choose and Doctors for Choice said the proposed legislation “should only be considered a first step towards liberalising abortion laws in Ireland”.

Action on X spokeswoman Sinéad Kennedy said it was vital that there be no curtailment of a woman’s right to access abortion on grounds that she is suicidal in the new legislation.

“We are aware that there are moves from some TDs to have this rolled back, however this is a constitutional right confirmed by the Supreme Court decision in the X case and the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the ABC case,” she said.

Pro-choice groups have also called for a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment to the Constitution, which gives the unborn an equal right to life as the mother.

Choice Ireland spokeswoman Stephanie Lord said it was “inhumane” that the amendment has not been repealed before now.

“There are 4,500 women that travel overseas for abortion services every year, and many more that order pills online to induce abortions at home,” she said.

“Women have a right to make the best choice for them under their circumstances, and their right to health care must also be upheld. It is now time to introduce free, safe, and legal abortion on demand in Ireland.”

Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) Mark Kelly said the decision to legislate “sends a clear message that the Government is committed to honouring its legal obligations to implement the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of A, B and C”.

“There is no good reason why the Government should limit itself to the minimum action required to implement this one judgment,” he added.

“It should seize the opportunity to thoroughly overhaul Ireland’s antediluvian laws on abortion, including by rendering lawful the termination of pregnancies involving fatal foetal abnormalities.”

The decision was also welcomed by the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, who said legislation would be “the best way to protect women and health professionals”, and would allow for “the necessary flexibility to cater for future advances in obstetrics”

Web Link :

Groups Respond to the Dublin Government’s Abortion Decision

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