Abortion Rights Group welcomes abortion revelations

Press Release 17th January 2000

The Dublin Abortion Rights Group has welcomed the recent revelation that abortions are being carried out in Irish hospitals in cases where the lives of women are threatened by continuing a pregnancy. A DARG spokesperson said: 'We were aware that such terminations were taking place in Ireland and we addressed this issue in our submission to the All Party Committee on the Green Paper. We are glad that the pretence that there is no abortion in Ireland is at an end'.

The DARG strongly opposes the suggestion that another constitutional referendum should be held to impose an 'absolute ban' on abortion. It is clear that the imposition of such a ban would have very dangerous implications for the medical treatment of pregnant women as it would outlaw life saving emergency procedures. In such cases an abortion could be refused, leading to the death of the woman. There have already been cases where treatment for cancer has been withheld because of the possibility of damage to the foetus.

For decades various 'pro-life' groups have argued that there are no cases in which abortion is necessary to save a woman's life. It is now clear that this is not true. Philosophical arguments about 'direct' and 'indirect' abortion, political loopholes and constitutional wordings are totally irrelevant to the lives and health of Irish woman. It is time for the government to introduce legislation to permit terminations in cases of danger to the lives of Irish women and to provide legal protection for doctors who carry out such operations. Political cowardice and blackmail from Independent TDs must not over-rule the right to life of women.

DARG spokesperson Ivana Bacik said: 'The abortion debate must be removed from the arena of legal, theological and political debate. The private and personal medical decisions made by individual women should be left to women themselves, in consultation with their medical advisers. Abortion and the lives and health of Irish women must cease to be a tool to be used by religious fundamentalists to exert political power in this state.'

Part of the pages of the Dublin Abortion Rights Group