– Release date: 25 September 2001
The Irish Family Planning Association has called on Fine Gael and the Government parties toput their money where their mouth is and ensure that proposals to establish a crisis pregnancy agency come before the Dail when it resumes in October.
According to an IFPA spokesperson, "at this stage a tug-of-war between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail appears to have emerged about whose proposals for a crisis pregnancy agency are better. However, this display of politicking will do nothing to bring about the early establishment of such an agency.
"What is required now is a commitment from either Fine Gael or the Government to table enabling legislation for the establishment of a crisis pregnancy agency, as recommended by All Party Committee, or to proceed towards implementing a statutory instrument in the Dail as soon as it resumes. Plans and Bills are a far cry from actual legislation and investment.
"As we approach the first anniversary of the publication of the All Party Report on Abortion,not a single measure to reduce crisis pregnancies has been implemented. Among the measures which all members agreed on was the establishment of a crisis pregnancy agency to prepare and implement a national plan to prevent crisis pregnancies.
"The Bill published yesterday by Fine Gael to establish The Care of Persons Board does not appear to go far enough in terms of an overall strategy to reduce crisis pregnancies. The remit of the proposed board focuses on supporting those experiencing crisis pregnancy, rather than doing anything to prevent women from getting pregnant in the first place. Nevertheless, if the Bill was tabled during Fine Gael's Private Member's Time and supported by the Dail, it could be substantially enhanced by way of amendments.
"The Government has dragged its feet for too long. It has concerned itself more with the constitutional issues around abortion rather than with reducing the numbers requiring abortion in the first place. Indeed, following information revealed to the IFPA by the of Health under the Freedom of Information Act, it appears that there has been no high level discussion on the establishment of a crisis pregnancy agency since April. Although the relevant documents were not released to the IFPA, from the information made available it seems that a letter relating to the establishment of a crisis pregnancy agency was sent to the Attorney General on March 14th. Since then, there has been no further high levelcommunications either from the AG, the Department of Health or at Cabinet level. If the Government is serious about putting in place a crisis pregnancy it should act now."