“Cowardly Statements” from politicians condemned by the Abortion Rights Campaign

Press Release from the Abortion Rights Campaign




“Cowardly Statements” from politicians condemned by the Abortion Rights Campaign


The campaign has today called on politicians to put aside their personal opinions and follow the will of the people.


Speaking today spokesperson Linda Kavanagh said, “The government must not back away from the call for choice made by the Citizens Assembly. While we welcome Simon Coveney’s statement that a referendum will be held next year on the issue of the 8th Amendment, we are concerned by his comment that he would not like to see ‘abortion on demand’. So-called abortion on demand is an emotive synonym for abortion on request, something the Citizens’ Assembly voted emphatically in favour of, at least up til 12 weeks.” Ms Kavanagh continued, “Minister Coveney was very supportive of the Citizens’ Assembly process – until they brought recommendations that he himself did not approve of.”


Ms Kavanagh also criticised comments made by Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin this week saying the campaign was “shocked by his remarks regarding survivors of incest.” Ms Kavanagh said “To suggest that victims of sexual assault should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term against their will is a grotesque insult and contrary to all human rights norms. As the Oireachtas Committee looks at the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly, voters will remember those politicians who stood up for women’s right to reproductive choice, and those who not only opposed that choice, but advocated what can only be described as torture.”


Ms Kavanagh also said that statements from Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar that his colleagues in Fine Gael are afraid to join the Joint Oireachtas Committee regarding the 8th Amendment for fear of ‘abuse’ they may receive, were an attempt to “avoid responsibility.”


“We expect our politicians to legislate, regardless of their personal opinions. A Joint Oireachtas Committee was always part of the Government plan post Citizens Assembly, and any attempt to avoid this duty to the women of Ireland is cowardly.”


Ms Kavanagh concluded that it was time for the Government to “take their responsibility seriously” on this issue. “Taoiseach Enda Kenny seems to have forgotten that Ireland has been found in breach of various human rights standards due to the 8th Amendment. In the last year alone CEDAW and the UN’s Human Rights Commission have issued damning indictments, saying that Ireland’s prohibition on abortion is, in and of itself, a grotesque and archaic human rights violation.”


“While politicians dither, women and pregnant people will travel, or break the law by ordering safe but illegal abortion pills online. Politicians continue to be the biggest impediment to the Repeal of the 8th Amendment and the establishment of free, safe and legal abortion access in Ireland.”