Broad call for X case legislation
Students protest the High Court decision 21 years ago to bar a 14-year-old, known as X, from travelling to Britain for an abortion. Photograph: The Irish Times
More than 100 organisations across a broad platform have called on the Government to legislate for the X case.
Action on X was joined in Dublin this morning by organisations including the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Siptu, Unite, the National Women’s Council of Ireland, the Union of Students in Ireland, Doctors for Choice and migrant women’s group AkiDwa, to call for the urgent enactment of the promised legislation.
The groups will also take part in a rally at the Central Bank on Monday at 6pm to mark the 21st anniversary of the X case.
In the High Court 21 years ago, a 14-year-old, known as X, was barred from travelling to Britain for an abortion. Two weeks later the Supreme Court overturned the bar and ruled that the Constitution allowed for abortion in Ireland when a woman’s life was in danger, including from the risk of suicide.
Following the death of Savita Halappanavar last year after she was refused an abortion while miscarrying, the Government said it would legislate for the X case.
Alison Spillane of Action for X said the rally would also coincide with an informal meeting of EU health ministers in Dublin Castle and would help to “keep the pressure” on Minister for Health James Reilly to follow through on the Government’s commitment to introduce legislation.
She said there were concerns the legislation may be delayed.
“James Reilly was due to bring a memo on the legislation to cabinet at the start of February and this was delayed and replaced by a verbal update and there have also been reports that one of his proposals contains as many as five medical practitioners needed to approve abortion in cases,” she said.
This was completely unacceptable and unworkable, she said. The organisation was calling for legislation which actually provides real access to abortion for women whose lives are at risk, including from the risk of suicide.
Ms Spillane said there was concern that some of the impetus to legislate seen before Christmas had been lost.
The Minister had said in the past he hoped to produce a heads of Bill before Easter, she said, but just a few days ago he replied to a parliamentary question saying he hoped to produce it within the next few months.
“We think this legislation is needed immediately; every day that passes is a day when women’s lives are at risk,” she said.