– Release date: 07 March 2002
The Irish Family Planning Association has described the outcome of the referendum as a victory for confusion and apathy among voters on issue of abortion.
"The extent of the stay-at-home vote cannot be ignored. It is a statement of how the Irish people feel about the issue of abortion and about this referendum: Those who stayed at home were confused because of the scare-mongering and deception which characterised the Government's campaign for a yes vote. Others were tired of voting on the issue of abortion. While others were of the view that it was not for them or the Constitution to decide what the personal choice of a women with a crisis pregnancy should be," said Tony O'Brien, IFPA Chief Executive.
"The precedent set by the Government following the rejection of the Nice Referendum means that the passing of this referendum is not the final say on abortion. The reasons why the Government is giving us a re-run of Nice are because of the low poll, the lack of information and confusion. These same reasons apply to this referendum, and our campaign against the enactment of this referendum decision begins today.
"In the meantime, the IFPA will continue to see thousands of women each year who make their silent journey to England to access abortion services. While tonight Bertie Ahern and his Government will wash their hands of the abortion issue, we will continue to deal with the reality of Irish abortion.
"During this referendum campaign, we began, for the first time, to hear from the women who make the silent journey to England. Deirdre de Barra and others have forced the Irish people to confront the need for legal abortion in Ireland in certain circumstances. These women have left people thinking and sooner or later we must deal with reality."
"Meanwhile, the task of preventing crisis pregnancies must become a priority for Government and service providers. While the IFPA looks forward to working with the Crisis Pregnancy, we need more than an agency if we are to see a genuine reduction in Irish abortions. Legislative and policy changes are required and the Government is the only body which can effect such change."