Retaining the 14 year jail sentence reveals the contempt the current government has for poor women, women with health issues, and those who face travel difficulties.
“Today the Government and elected TDs had the chance to releave some of the hardship faced by women in Ireland by reducing the punishment for abortion to a €1 fine.” says Linda Kavanagh of the Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC). “We are extremely disappointed, but not surprised, that yet another bill that could take some steps towards liberalising abortion laws here has again been defeated.”
Ms Kavanagh continued: “There was over 10,000 people on the streets yesterday at Strike4Repeal on O’Connell bridge and the March4Repeal which culminated outside Leinster House. It is clear that the largest barrier to broadening abortion access in Ireland is the lack of political will to call for a referendum. Yet again the Citizens Assembly is used as a stalling tactic by the government.
The Assembly was set up to discuss the 8th Amendment but its purpose has been manipulated so that the Government can avoid movement on any aspect of abortion, not just aspects affected by the 8th Amendment. Its an abdication of responsibility and the role that government representatives were elected for.”
“Women in Ireland procure abortions illegally. 1,642 abortion pill packages were sent to Ireland from 2010 to 2012 by Women on Web. The 14 year penalty causes a chilling factor on both the women who may need or want medical attention after taking the pills, and any medical professional who helped her. Our current abortion regime ensures that those with means can exercise their so-called “right to travel”, while the marginalised are forced to break the law. Retaining the 14 year jail sentence reveals the contempt the current government has for poor women, women with health issues, and those who face travel difficulties.
“It is galling that the day after International Women’s Day, when Ministers attended many events celebrating women and their achievements, that they continue to criminalise women for getting an abortion. This is in direct contravention of the many human rights treaties the Irish State has agreed to uphold. While the 8th remains in place it endangers the life of anyone who can get pregnant in Ireland. We call on this government to hold a referendum without delay to repeal the 8th and allow for free, safe and legal abortion in Ireland.”