Anti-abortion group dismisses recommendations
Reaction:The report from the expert group has been criticised and dismissed by the anti-abortion Pro-Life Campaign, which said its recommendations were not what people wanted.
In contrast, pro-choice groups have welcomed the report, with some saying the Government should go further than it recommends in providing for limited legal abortion here.
The Pro-Life Campaign said none of the options put forward in the report had set out ways of safeguarding both mother and baby or foetus in pregnancy.
Caroline Simons, legal consultant to the campaign, said the issue of abortion was one for the people “whose range of options is not limited to those contained in this report”.
Legislation for abortion was not necessary to comply with the 2010 European Court of Human Rights decision in the A,B and C v Ireland case, she said.
What was needed was “clarity for women in pregnancy regarding medical treatment needed to safeguard their lives”.
There was a clear distinction between abortion and medical treatment, a “distinction” the “general public gets”, she said.
Choice Ireland welcomed the publication of the report. Sinéad Ahern, spokeswoman for the campaign, said members were “very glad” the report “seems to be quite clear in recommending there needs to be legislation in line with the X case.
“This is what is necessary to give both women and doctors clarity as to when an abortion is legal. Whatever legislative path is chosen must be both accessible to all women and practical.”
The National Women’s Council of Ireland welcomed the recommendation for primary legislation and urged TDs to ensure its passage “as a matter of great urgency”.
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties, describing the report as “lucid and authoritative”, called on the Government to go further than it sets out.
It called, as a minimum, for a time frame to be set out as to when the “necessary reforms” would be enacted.
“However, there is no good reason why the Government should limit itself to the minimum action required to implement this one judgment of the Strasbourg court,” said council director Mark Kelly.
The Irish Family Planning Association said Government could no longer ignore “the imperative to legislate for abortion in limited circumstances”.
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children called for “widespread resistance” to the report, which it describes as “a door to mass abortion on a British scale”.