“We’ll only support full repeal” leading pro-choice group warns Leo Varadkar
In a letter to the Taoiseach yesterday evening, the Abortion Rights Campaign made clear that repeal simpliciter is the only option that should be put to the people in a referendum.
Commenting on the letter, spokesperson Linda Kavanagh said “In September the March for Choice, organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign, saw over 40,000 people take to the streets of Dublin calling for the full repeal of the 8th Amendment and free, safe, and legal abortion access. The Abortion Rights Campaign has active regional groups in almost every county. This referendum campaign will be won on the ground by our members and volunteers. We cannot ask them to support a referendum that would insert an ill-advised clause with potentially far reaching implications into the Constitution.”
Spokesperson for the campaign Clare Lanigan added: “As both legal and medical experts to the Joint Oireachtas Committee made clear, the Constitution has never been the right place to deal with abortion care provision.”
“Successive governments have had 35 years to address the 8th Amendment. We are alarmed to see this replace option now being hastily proposed. The opportunity to finally address the issue of the 8th Amendment effectively is too important to be affected by last minute scrambles.”
“Full repeal is the only option we’re going to support. We’ve strongly urged the Taoiseach to put this option in front of the people.”
Ms Kavanagh and Ms Lanigan were speaking in advance of a free public information evening on the Eighth Amendment and Healthcare, hosted by ARC on 24 January 7pm in the Ashling Hotel, Dublin and featuring guest speakers from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Midwives for Choice, AIMS Ireland and others.
I think you need to reconsider this. Straight repeal leaves whatever legislation that might be adopted afterwards open to the risk of constitutional challenge. This risk could be avoided were the President to refer the legislation to the Supreme Court before signing it, nut the outcome is uncertain. It might be safer to replace the 8th with language that authorises/requires the Oireachtas to legislate.