Following the Irish Government’s publication last night of the Heads of the Bill – preliminary draft for legislation – on abortion, the country’s Pro Life Campaign has dismissed the Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s reassurances that the law will be restrictive.
The Bill provides for abortion on the ground of threatened suicide with three doctors certifying the abortion.
Cora Sherlock, Deputy Chairperson of the Ireland’s Pro Life Campaign reminded the Campaign’s followers this morning that it was a very sad day for her country. “For the first time an Irish Government has launched a proposal to introduce abortion.”
But, rallying the Campaign’s troops, she reminded them that the law had not yet been passed. “They haven’t succeeded yet. And so our job remains the same. Together we must redouble our efforts, never lose heart and continue our engagement with politicians, the media and the wider public. We will be dignified, respectful but insistent at all times.
“On days like this, we remember the nobility of the pro-life cause. There will be irritants, provocations and frustrations. But the more dignified and persistent we are in these days, the more our cause will benefit into the future.
“Don’t be disheartened. Each of us has a part to play. Today is the first day of a new and sustained fight on behalf of the unborn and their mothers.”
Commenting on the release of the Heads of the Bill, Caroline Simons of the Pro Life Campaign said:
“The Taoiseach and Minister Reilly have been talking up the proposal as very restrictive. But, in reality, these reassuring noises are empty and misleading. What matters is what’s contained in the Bill and what’s in the Bill is dangerous. For the first time an Irish government is proposing to introduce a law that provides for the direct intentional targeting of the life of the unborn child.
“Talk of the legislation being ‘life-saving’ is simply dishonest. There is no evidence that abortion ever helps women’s mental health and in fact it may damage women. It’s astounding that the Fine Gael leadership has caved in to Labour, allowing ideology to win out over evidence.
“The two-panel six-doctor proposal for signing off on abortions is utter nonsense. All it takes is three pro-choice doctors to sign off on every request and all restrictiveness is gone. It is an insult to women and their unborn babies to pretend that it could operate in an evidence-based manner.
“The Government has claimed all along that there is no option but to legislate. This is untrue. If the Government were really concerned about protecting women’s lives and respecting the unborn, we would have appropriate guidelines drawn up to assist doctors in various cases. The law already protects good medicine and life-saving treatments.
“If the Government continues to press ahead with the proposed legislation, we cannot continue to airbrush the reality of what abortion entails in countries where it is legal. There has been a huge spotlight on Ireland’s abortion laws but the public deserves to know what’s going on in other countries before any final decision is taken on the matter.”