Problematic statement by Daly & Collins on the X-Case legislation

Clare Daly TD, Joan Collins TD

Press statement – 26 April 2013 – immediate release

Two opinions sufficient to approve abortion

The debate on the number of doctors and psychiatrists required to approve an abortion shows callous disregard for women, said Clare Daly and Joan Collins. They call on all concerned for women’s welfare to join the Action on X protest at 6pm next Monday at City Hall in Dublin.

Clare Daly said:

“The proposal of between three and six doctors and psychiatrists to approve abortion for a desperate woman or girl, suicidal due to unwanted pregnancy – perhaps due to rape – is callous and unacceptable. It would simply deny women and girls access to abortion, because nobody would go through such an inquisition or take the risk that one of those with the power to decide might say no.

If one of the psychiatrists says no, would happen to the woman? Would she be detained in a psychiatric hospital, perhaps until she gave birth? Remember, the 14 year old girl in the X Case only became suicidal when she was denied an abortion.”

Joan Collins said:

“These proposals show a disregard for women because they increase the risk to women’s lives. They will force the women and girls who can travel to go overseas for abortions – and deepen the crisis for those too ill or too poor to go.

The opinion of no more than two medical practitioners is sufficient to approve abortion, especially in the urgent situation of a risk to the life of a woman or girl – for physical or mental health reasons. Any more than two is an unnecessary restriction that shows a mistrust of women and of the medical professions.”


I find this position quite problematic.

By implication this is advocating an anti-choice position or at the very least it would be used by the anti-choice side against either Clare or Joan, or anyone supporting this statement, when they were arguing for a pro-choice position in the future.
I say this because it accepts that medical practitioners should be the ones to approve whether a woman is allowed to have an abortion – the only discussion is over the number of medical practitioners necessary to make that decision. This runs counter to the basic proposition of the pro-choice movement that it is every woman’s right to choose for herself whether or not she has an abortion.
If you are going to enter the debate on the details of the government’s proposals, such as number of doctors required to approve abortions, then I believe it has to be done in a way that is not incompatible with the pro-choice position of women’s right to choose.
This press statement fails to do that and is therefore a mistake in my opinion.



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