Repeal of 'unworkable article' sought

Fri, Jan 11, 2013, 00:00

WOMEN'S COUNCIL:The only way to reduce the number of Irish women having abortions is through comprehensive sex education, free contraception and a strong social system, according to the National Women’s Council of Ireland.

Director Abigail Rooney said women and physicians should not be criminalised because of abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and she called for a further referendum to deal with this. Ms Rooney told the Oireachtas hearings on abortion that legislation on the X case would have little impact on the numbers seeking abortion and “we will still have 4,000 women going abroad” to terminate their pregnancies every year.

“If a foetus does not die in the womb then we cannot deal with fatal foetal abnormalities the way things are at the moment, so we will have to move it along and have another referendum to deal with that,” she said.

Criminalising women for abortion in the case of fatal foetal abnormality was not the way forward. “If you think you’re saving lives by doing this you’re not.” She said “we need to regulate this and we need to do it immediately and I know this can’t be done without a referendum but let’s ask the people”.

Inequality

Ailbhe Smyth of the Action on X organisation said article 43.3 of the Constitution was the source of inequality of access to medical treatment between women and men. The “blunt reality is that the restrictive terms of the X case ruling would exclude the large majority of women who leave Ireland” for an abortion abroad.

She called for the repeal of the “demonstrably unworkable article 43.3” of the Constitution and for appropriate legislation to end inequality.

Orla O’Connor of the National Women’s Council said: “Abortion must be decriminalised if the legislation plus regulation approach is to be accessible and effective and to remove the shame, stigma and discrimination that women in Ireland have to endure as a result of these criminal provisions.”