Dublin Abortion Rights Group

Press Statement

November 26th 1997

Another "X" case

The current case of the 13 year old rape victim has, once again, highlighted the problems caused by the failure of successive governments to legislate for abortion in Ireland.

It was clear after the "X" case in 1992 that similar cases would occur again. But governments have refused to legislate for the limited abortion services allowed by the 1992 amendment.

Although information about legal abortion services in other European Union countries is lawfully available, its distribution is subject to severe restrictions. Students' Unions representing over 100,000 people are not allowed to provide this information to their own members.

The Dublin Abortion Rights Group was formed to campaign for the provision of free, safe and legal abortion facilities in Ireland. Every day at least 8 Irish women travel to England for abortions, and that figure is very conservative as it only includes those who give an Irish address when registering at a clinic.

Failure to provide information has not and will not decrease this number. Women will continue to exercise their right to choose. Such a choice is easier to exercise when the woman has sufficient income to cover the medical and travel costs. The choice becomes a lot harder to exercise if poor or unemployed.

The media's intrusion into the privacy of the 13 year old's family would not have been permitted had they not been Travellers. It is yet one more example of the ongoing discrimination suffered by Travellers.

In 1992 Ireland voted for the rights to information and travel. Therefore we voted for the right to abortion, but in another country. This attempts to deny the reality that tens of thousands of Irish women have had abortions. Furthermore the current situation creates an atmosphere where these women are stigmatised and silenced. This is yet one more unsatisfactory and deeply hypocritical "Irish solution to an Irish problem".

Aileen O'Carroll, spokesperson for the Dublin Abortion Rights Group said that "Abortion is a human rights issue and every woman has the right to choose".



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