Press Release: Joint Oireachtas Committee on Abortion Must Complete its Work Before a General Election

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Abortion Must Complete its Work Before a General Election, says Abortion Rights Campaign  

New government will not halt momentum on the campaign to repeal the 8th amendment

The Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) said today that the excellent work started by the Citizens Assembly in early 2017 and continued by the members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Abortion was too important to cast aside.

Linda Kavanagh of ARC today commended the work done by TDs and Senators on the committee: “We have been delighted to see the majority of members entering the committee in good faith and with an open mind and we want to commend and acknowledge the shifting attitudes towards abortion that are apparent week after week. We are seeing a real understanding of the need for change and the reality that restrictions-based abortion access will not work in Ireland.” Ms Kavanagh also praised “the excellent witnesses who have given up their time to share their experiences of the reality of the 8th amendment.”

Ms Kavanagh sought to remind TDs that the majority of people in Ireland want change to Ireland’s abortion laws. “The Joint Oireachtas Committee has already voted not to retain article 40.3.33. It would be an affront to the people of Ireland for the work of this committee to be shelved for an indefinite period.”

“Besides the human effort that has gone into the Citizens Assembly and the Joint Oireachtas Committee, there has been considerable financial resources invested in this process. The taxpayers of Ireland funded the Citizens Assembly process at a cost of €600k, and since then the Joint Oireachtas Committee has been in public session a total of nine times. Many witnesses were brought in from other countries. Under no circumstances should this work go to waste.” Ms Kavanagh continued.

“We are closer than ever to making real and substantive change to the lives of women and anyone who can get pregnant in Ireland. We have waited long enough for a referendum to be called – it will not be possible for any new government to ignore this issue.”   

She continued “We will not let the referendum to Repeal the 8th to be held hostage in a bid to get votes for political parties. Abortion was a red line issue on the doorsteps in the last election and it will be the same in any future election. The political parties need to remember that lives and health care of the women of Ireland are not political pawns.

We have waited long enough for access to decision making over our own bodies. With every additional day that passes another 12 people are forced to travel for abortion access or take illegal abortion pills in Ireland”.