Irish Choice Network statement on govt’s announcement they will be legislating for X

Joint Statement: Pro-choice groups welcome government announcement and call for referendum

Speaking following the government announcement today that it intends to bring forward legislation and regulations on abortion, a broad range of pro-choice groups welcomed the call but said that the government must give commitments on the dates by which this will happen. The groups, which include Irish Choice Network, Choice Ireland, Action on X, Galway Pro-Choice, Cork Women’s Right to Choose and Doctors for Choice said that furthermore this legislation should only be considered a first step towards liberalising abortion laws in Ireland which must include holding a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment to the Constitution.

Action on X spokesperson Sinéad Kennedy said; 

“We very much welcome this announcement today that a legal framework for abortion in cases of a risk to the life of a pregnant woman will be introduced, including that of suicide. However we are concerned that there is no timeframe or implementation plan included with it. The Expert Group was originally created to delay matters and the government should not be allowed to drag their feet on the issue. This should be the first item of business on the Dáil schedule once they return after Christmas. It has been delayed twenty years already.

“Within the legislation that is produced, there must also be no curtailment of a woman’s right to access abortion on the ground that she is suicidal. We are aware that there are moves from some TDs to have this rolled back, however this is a constitutional right confirmed by the Supreme Court decision in the X Case and the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the ABC case. It must be delivered on.

Further commenting, Choice Ireland spokesperson Stephanie Lord said;

“The government announcement that it will introduce legislation for X is to be welcomed, however it is now time for the government to acknowledge the reality of abortion in Ireland. The next step should be the introduction of a referendum bill that will repeal the 8th amendment. It is inhumane that this has not happened before now. There are 4,500 women that travel overseas for abortion services every year, and many more that order pills online to induce abortions at home. Women have a right to make the best choice for them under their circumstances, and their right to health care must also be upheld. It is now time to introduce free, safe, and legal abortion on demand in Ireland.” 


Note to Editors

Spokespersons from pro-choice groups available for comment are;

Choice Ireland – Stephanie Lord 08XXXXXX
Action on X – Sinéad Kennedy 08XXXXXX
Irish Choice Network – Claire Brophy  08XXXXXX
 (Also Irish language media contact)
Galway Pro-Choice  – Sarah McCarthy 08XXXXXX
Cork Women’s Right to Choose –  Sandra Mc Avoy 08XXXXXX
Doctors for Choice – Peadar O’Grady 08XXXXXX
Feminist Open Forum – Ailbhe Smyth 08XXXXXX


2 Responses to “Irish Choice Network statement on govt’s announcement they will be legislating for X”

  1. 1 littlemicky2012
    December 18, 2012 at 21:23

    This is a good statement and lays out the picture very well. It most importantly says that the law will not go far enough and outlines waht needs to be done.

    The question now for the pro choice movement though, after legislation can the objective of forcing the state to deal with the reality of 4500 Irish women travelling for abortions and many more self administering the abortion pilll at home be met by simple pressure of campaigning and lobbying? Is there not a sense that this issue will be buried by most of the political class after legislation is passed. If the movement cannot maintain momentum the issue could well fade into the background until another high profile tragedy. In would appear to me that open defiance of the law may be necessary to force the governments hand. Is this possible?

    • December 18, 2012 at 21:48

      I think you are probably correct that law breaking will be necessary to get substantive change.

      That being said I also think there is a factor that will limit the political establishment’s potential to simply move on – the extremely well-funded anti-choice movement. The government is going to have a huge problem in providing facilities where abortions in situations covered by the X-Case legislation can take place. We can be sure that there will be protests of all kinds by the other side against this and that may well provide a basis for maintaining the momentum on our side and training a new layer of activists in what could be a much sharper and bitter struggle than what we have seen in recent years. Out of that struggle a section prepared to do what is necessary in terms of law breaking could develop. There is also the context of continuing austerity which will be making the British option less possible for more and more women and so increasing the importance of providing a local solution which doesn’t involve the risks of unsupervised internet provision of the pills for medical abortions.

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