Write to Leo!

 

It’s been announced that Leo Varadkar is the new leader of Fine Gael. Pending a Dáil vote, it’s likely he will also be our new Taoiseach. We’ve prepared a letter for our supporters to send to Leo asking him to take the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly seriously and commit to properly reforming abortion law in Ireland. Just copy the text below and send by email to leo.varadkar@oir.ie or by post to Leo Varadkar, T.D., 37A Main Street, Ongar, Dublin 15.

Thank You!

UPDATE: We now have an Irish translation of the letter! See below for more.

Dear Mr. Varadkar,

Congratulations on your recent election as leader of Fine Gael.

As you will be keenly aware, your new role comes with the challenge of taking immediate action on the Citizens’ Assembly’s recommendations on abortion legislation.

I fully support the Assembly’s recommendations, and I would like to outline why they are so necessary.

The Eighth Amendment affects all aspects of obstetric care in this country. Since it is a constant barrier to women’s equal rights, its removal will be a huge step forward for the rights of women, girls, and pregnant people in Ireland.

On April 23rd, following several months of consultation from experts, service providers, service users, and rights holders, the members of the Citizens’ Assembly voted overwhelmingly for choice and change. The members have voted not to put grounds for abortion access in the Constitution, and have made very clear recommendations as to the type of access they expect to see introduced.

I’m asking you, if you become Ireland’s new Taoiseach, to make sure the newly established Oireachtas committee recognises the will of the assembly members. In good faith, the Citizens’ Assembly voted in favour of abortion access with no restrictions as to reasons (with the vote split between up to 12 weeks and up to 22 weeks of pregnancy). Additionally, they voted for abortion access if the health (both physical and mental) of a pregnant person is at risk, if they have received a diagnosis of foetal impairment, and on socio-economic grounds.

Our current law, the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act (PLDPA), only allows abortion in extremely restrictive circumstances – it is not fit for purpose – and a new legislative model that follows the same pattern will not be good enough. The best way to meet the needs of those seeking an abortion in Ireland and to ensure access to those who need it is to decriminalise abortion and to introduce free, safe, and legal access.

Thousands of people have marched on the streets over the past months and years to call for a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment. 87% of the Citizen’s Assembly participants believe that the 8th Amendment cannot remain in its current form. I believe this very clearly represents the feelings of Irish society.

Mr. Varadkar, I note that during the Fine Gael leadership campaign, you expressed the view that the Citizens’ Assembly was “not a time-wasting exercise”. I would ask that you take action consistent with this comment and ensure that no more time is wasted in delivering a referendum. People in Ireland have waited long enough for these basic human rights.

The Government now has a clear mandate to call a referendum and introduce broad legislation on this issue. As Taoiseach, you would be accountable for removing the barriers to a referendum. The government must follow through with the process it insisted on introducing. Any delay is an attempt to undermine the work of the Assembly and the rights of women, girls, and pregnant people in Ireland.

I look forward to your reply assuring me you will take immediate and decisive action on this issue.

Kind regards,

[YOUR NAME]

Irish Version / Leagan Gaeilge

A Uasail Varadkar,

Comhghairdeas as bheith tofa mar cheannaire ar Fhine Gael. Mar is eol go maith duit, tagann dúshlán le do ról nua: sin na moltaí ón dTionól Saoránach ar reachtaíocht maidir le tobscor toirchis a chur i bhfeidhm láithreach.
Tugaim lántacaíocht do mholtaí na dTionóI, agus ba bhreá liom breac-chuntas a thabhairt ar an ngá géar leo.
Baineann an tOchtú Leasú le gach gné de chúram obstatraice sa tír seo. Os rud é gur constaic bhuan í do chearta na mban, céim ollmhór a bheas ann i dtreo cearta do mhná, cailíní, agus daoine ar fad atá ag iompar in Éirinn nuair a bhainfidh tú an chonstaic sin de.

Ar an 23iú Aibreáin, tar éis míonna ag glacadh le comhairle ó saineolaithe, soláthraí seirbhísí, úsáideoirí na seirbhísí, agus sealbhóirí cirt, vótáil na baill den Tionól Saoránach go tréan ar son rogha agus athrú. Vótáil na baill gan coinníollacha ar fáil ar thobscor toirchis a chur sa bhunreacht, agus rinne siad moltaí soiléir maidir leis an sórt fáil ar sheirbhísí atá siad ag súil leis.

Tá mé ag impí ort, is tú le bheith i do thaoiseach, cinntiú go n-aithneoidh Coiste Nuabhunaithe an Oireachtais toil na mball den Tionól Saoránach.

Le hintinn mhaith, vótáil an Tionól Saoránach i bhfábhar fáil ar thobscor thoirchis gan teorannú maidir le cúiseanna (leis an vóta scoilte idir suas go 12 seachtain agus suas go 22 seachtain sa toircheas). Chomh maith leis sin, vótáil siad ar son fáil ar thobscor thoirchis má bhíonn sláinte (fisiciúil agus intinne) an té atá ag iompar i mbaol, má fhaigheann siad fáthmheas faoi mhallachar don fhaitéas, agus má bhíonn cúiseanna socheacnamaíochta ann.

Ní ligeann ár ndlí faoi láthair (Acht um Chosaint na Beatha le linn Toirchis) ach do thobscor toirchis i gcásanna atá thar a bheith sriantach– ní fiú é– agus ní leor stíl nua reachtaíochta a leanfadh an patrún céanna. An chaoi is fearr le freastal ar riachtanaisí iad siúd atá ag iarraidh tobscor thoirchis in Éirinn agus le cinntiú go bhfuil fáil air dóibh siúd atá dhá iarraidh ná tobscor thoirchis a dhíchoiriúlú agus fáil air bheith saor in aisce, sláintiúil agus dlíthiúil.
Chuaigh na mílte amach ag mairseáil ar na sráideanna le míonna agus blianta anuas ag glaoch ar reifreann leis an tOchtú Leasú a aisghaireadh. Creideann 87% den dTionól Saoránach nach féidir leis an tOchtú Leasú leanúint ar aghaidh mar atá. Creidim go seasann sé seo go han-soiléir ar fad do mhothúcháin shochaí na hÉireann.

A Uasail Varadkar, thug mé faoi deara is tú i mbun feachtais do cheannasaíocht ar Fhine Gael, go raibh tú den tuairim ‘nach cur amú ama’ a bhí san dTionól Soaránach. Iarraim ort beart de réir do bhriathrar de réir an tuairim sin le cinntiú nach gcuirfear níos mó ama amú sula mbeidh reifreann á reáchtáil. Tá muintir na hÉireann ag fanacht fada go leor ar son na cearta daonna bunúsacha seo.

Tá mandáid shoiléir ag an rialtas anois le reifreann a reáchtáil agus reachtaíocht leathan a chrothú ar an ábhar seo. Mar thaoiseach, is tú a bheas freagrach as fáil réidh le constaic ar bith ar reifreann. Caithfidh an rialtas a chinntiú go leanfaidh an próiseas a thosaigh siad féin ar aghaidh go dtí an chríoch. Iarracht bonn a bhaint ó obair an tionóil agus ó chearta do mhná, cailíní agus daoine ag iompar in Éirinn a bheadh in aon mhoill.

Tá mé ag súil go mór le tuiscint ó do fhreagra nach mbeidh lá amhrais orm go dtabharfaidh tú faoin ábhar seo láithreach agus go ceannasach.

Le meas,

[AINM]