ARC Statement on Sabina Higgins Comments 9th May 2016

Abortion Rights Campaign support comments made by Sabina Higgins and call on the Government to call a referendum to Repeal the 8th.

The Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) welcome the remarks of Sabina Higgins that Ireland’s abortion laws are an “outrage against women.” We know from working with groups like Termination for Medical reasons and listening to the experiences of women who have had to deal with a Fatal Foetal Abnormality (FFA) diagnosis that their suffering is only compounded by the fact that they are forced to travel outside of Ireland for medical care. These women are left without a continuity of care, or if unable to travel forced to carry an nonviable pregnancy to term. These women should be given the medical care they need in their own country.

Mrs Higgins’ remarks were made at a evening hosted for midwives and midwifery students, they are some the medical professionals who hands are tied by the 8th Amendment. The 8th Amendment effects medical consent and leaves medical professionals working with the threat of a 14 year criminal sentence hanging over them if they wish to deliver proper and compassionate care to women.

The UN committee of Human Rights have told the Irish government on 3 separate occasions that we need to amend our abortion laws and bring them in line with international Human Rights standards, so that women are no longer treated as vessels. Repeated polls show the majority of people in Ireland want to see wider abortion access introduced, and the only way to do this is to have a referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment to the Constitution.

Every day that our new government fails to act, 10 women must travel to the UK to access abortion care. Some of those doing so are dealing with unfortunate cases of Fatal Foetal Abnormalities, Sabina Higgins is correct: this is “an outrage against women.”

Whatever choice is made by those given a diagnosis of Fatal Foetal Abnormality, they should get the support they need here in Ireland. This includes counselling and support, and abortion care if that is what they choose.

ENDS

For further comment contact:
Linda Kavanagh 087 995 2309
Spokesperson