Launch of legal opinion on 'Protection of Human Life in Pregnancy' Bill

Launch of legal opinion on 'Protection of Human Life in Pregnancy' Bill
Prof. Ivana Bacik
Press statement. December 21, 2001.

Raped, pregnant, suicidal .... let her die?

This is the stark choice on which people will have to vote in the Government's abortion referendum. Removal of risk to life by suicide as grounds for abortion - rollback of the 'x case' judgement - is what the Government wants. Fianna Fail and the PDs are willing to gamble with the lives of despairing women. But if faced with a daughter, sister, friend or partner who is suicidal due to an enforced pregnancy - will middle-ground reasonable Ireland want to put a loved-one's life at risk by denying her an abortion?

As well as denying abortion rights to the most vulnerable, the Government wants to criminalise abortion - including women who induce abortions themselves. A twelve year jail sentence could be handed down to a woman who self-aborts, or to anybody who aids, abets or counsels a woman in procuring an abortion. Criminalising abortion will do nothing for the 7,000 women who have terminations in Britain annually, other than add to their fear and shame.

Not only will women's lives be put at risk, but women's physical and mental health will also be downgraded by this Bill. Abortion will be ruled out for women whose health would be ruined by continuing a pregnancy to full term. Nor will abortion be permissible for cases of severe foetal abnormality.

The Government's honest hypocrite - Noel Ahern - said in the Dail that he would bring his daughter to Britain for an abortion in an enforced pregnancy crisis. But neither he nor his Fianna Fail and PD colleagues will extend their compassion to those who, for perhaps health or financial reasons, cannot make the journey. Their cruel dogmatism and willingness to exile women with crisis pregnancies - at a rate of 7000 a year - stands in sharp contrast to the 'Ireland of the welcomes' rhetoric that Ministers like to propound.

A coalition of Fianna Fail,the bishops and the so-called 'pro-life' minority does not constitute a middle-ground consensus. Current opinion polls reflect this, with clear indications that the referendum proposals will be defeated - as in 1992.

The legal opinion on the 'Protection of Human Life in Pregnancy' Bill by Prof. Ivana Bacik reveals in detail the shortcomings of the referendum proposals. The Alliance for a NO Vote calls on the Government, and especially the PDs - who have opposed proposals of this kind in the past, to abandon this anti-woman referendum.

As the main pro-choice organisation opposing the referendum, the ANV will campaign to maximise the 'no' vote. We are already working closely with the Labour Party and the IFPA. We will seek to co-operate and work with any organisation or individual who broadly shares our interpretation of the referendum proposals.


To the Alliance for a No Vote page