Again for abortion, Dáil Vote Out of Step with Public Opinion

Abortion Rights Campaign: Again for abortion, Dáil Vote Out of Step with Public Opinion


Photo Credit: William Hederman and Eilis Murphy

Photo Credit: William Hederman and Eilis Murphy

The Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) is once again disappointed by continued government inaction on abortion rights in Ireland. We agree with Daly’s assertion, that continued government “inaction condemns women to a lonely journey to England.” We call on the government to take swift action on this issue, in accordance with the majority will of the people of Ireland.

The defeat of Clare Daly’s Bill by a margin of 104 to 20 is in direct opposition to the estimated 80% of people in Ireland who would support legislation to provide legal abortion in cases of Fatal Foetal abnormalities, and it wilfully ignores the UN’s Human Rights Committee’s criticism of Ireland’s abortion laws, which have been rightly called ‘a violation of human rights’.

As ARC has asserted over the past several years and several tragedies, the state’s rigid and overly reverent interpretation of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution has worsened the legal situation in Ireland. For example, the 14 year sentence included in the government’s 2013 Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act was not demanded by the constitution. This threat of a prison sentence creates further uncertainty, stigma, and fear for Irish woman trying to access abortion, including in cases of Fatal Foetal Abnormality. The criminal sentence, while very difficult to enforce, is a threat to Health Care providers which keeps everyone in limbo and fearful for their lives and livelihoods instead of ensuring health and care for all those who live in Ireland.

ARC also supports Clare Daly’s call for greater transparency with regards the advice given by the Attorney General on the constitutionality of the Bill. While it may not be ‘traditional’ to publish the Attorney General’s advice, we see it as problematic for one person’s subjective view to hold so much sway over the Dáil, stifling debate and sweeping democratic values under the carpet, especially on issues that have been so silenced, so private, so stigmatized.

The Abortion Rights Campaign are working to ensure that the 8th Amendment is a doorstep issue in the next election, and we encourage our supporters, new and veteran, to contact their TDs; again letting our elected officials know that abortion rights in Ireland is important to us all. We reiterate our call to the government: if, as they have said on a loop, no change can be made to abortion rights in Ireland without a change to the constitution, then the mandate is clear. Call a referendum to Repeal the 8th Amendment so we can get rid of the document that they say ties their hands.