Pro-choice groups express concern about X-case legislation momentum

 

Organisations supporting legislation for the X case have expressed concerns that Government promises made last year have lost impetus.

Action on X was joined in Dublin yesterday 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 legislation.

Rally

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.

The case culminated in a Supreme Court ruling that abortion was allowed 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 might be delayed. The Minister was due to bring a memo on the legislation to Cabinet at the start of February, she said, but this was “delayed and replaced by a verbal update”. The Minister had also said in the past he hoped to produce a Heads of Bill for the legislation before Easter, but in a recent parliamentary question he said 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.

Fatal abnormalities

Arlette Lyons of Terminations for Medical Reasons said the legislation must include access to abortion for women carrying babies with fatal abnormalities.

Salome Mbugua of AkiDwA said the cost of travel for abortion for migrant women was prohibitive.

A spokesman for the Minister said along with the Ministers of State at the Department of Health, Dr Reilly had been overseeing “intensive work” to prepare legislation.

“There is no question of a delay,” he said.