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IFPA calls for removal of 1983 amendment from the Constitution

By September 4, 2003News

– Release date: 05 September 2003

The Irish Family Planning Association has said that events of the past 20 years have shown that the 1983 amendment to the Constitution is a flawed and inappropriate way to deal with the issue of abortion.

The IFPA supports the repeal of article 40.3.3 from the Constitution to enable access to safe, legal abortion in Ireland.

Speaking at an event organised by Alliance for Choice to mark the twentieth anniversary of the 1983 abortion referendum, Catherine Forde, Spokesperson for the IFPA Board, said, “the ‘X Case’, the ‘C Case’, the Deirdre De Barra story and the fact that tens of thousands of women have travelled to England for terminations over the past 20 years shows that the constitutional ban on abortion has failed so many women.

“It is interesting that in June this year, the 30th anniversary of safe, legal abortion in Denmark coincided with the national abortion rate reaching its lowest point. British statistics show that more Irish women are accessing abortion services than ever before.

“Abortion rates per 1,000 women aged 15-44 illustrate that while the Irish figure has increased significantly from 2.6 in 1975 to 7.5 in 2001. Conversely the Danish statistics, which show a steady decrease from a high of 23.7 in 1975 to 12.0 today, back up international research which argues that in developed countries which have legalised abortions and access to abortion services, the long-term predominant trend in abortion rates is downwards.

“There is an onus on our Legislator to deal realistically with the issue of abortion. The 2002 referendum sent a message to the Government that the Irish people don’t want to go backwards. Until article 40.3.3 of our Constitution is repealed in its entirety can we move forward.

“The advent of the Crisis Pregnancy Agency will help to enhance supports to women in a crisis pregnancy situation and this must be welcomed. However, access will continue to be a difficulty for women whose liberty is restricted in this country and women who are economically deprived,” she added.