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IFPA urges Government to heed IHRC’S recommendation on abortion

By March 8, 2005News

– Release date: 08 March 2005

The Irish Family Planning Association has warned the Government against ‘burying its head in the sand’ when it comes to dealing with the recommendation made by the Irish Human Rights Commission on ‘X Case’ legislation.

According to the Association’s Chief Executive, Niall Behan, “the considered recommendation of the IHRC is an important intervention. It should not be ignored by the political establishment.

“Each attempt by the Government to roll back on the Supreme Court ruling in the ‘X Case’ has been met by public rejection, most recently in the 2002 referendum on abortion. Leadership and sensibility is now required to put in place legislation to define the circumstances in which an abortion can be carried out.

“Failure to act on the IHRC’s recommendation will simply result in more confusion and hysteria the next time a new ‘X’ or ‘C’ case comes before the courts,” warned Mr Behan.

In recent months, a number of situations have arisen which point to the inadequacies of Ireland’s abortion laws. “Last year saw a Garda investigation of illegal abortion services operating in Dublin. Only in the past few weeks a case came to light of a woman who, because of her legal status in Ireland, could not travel to Britain for abortion services. How many more instances of this nature are required to mobilise the Government into dealing with the issue of abortion in a sensible and realistic way?”

“It has become clearer to the IFPA that, in recent years, the right of some women to freely travel for termination services is very limited: those without proper legal status as Irish citizens; those in State care and those who simply cannot afford to travel are being forced to continue with an unwanted pregnancy or, if they manage to eventually travel, access a later termination.

“While legislating for the ‘X Case’ will not lessen the barriers for many of these women, it would act as a first step in dealing with abortion in a realistic way,” said Niall Behan.

Useful Links: Irish Human Rights Commission Submission on discrimination against Women