Anti abortion campaigners seek support for new poll

 

THE Pro Life Campaign has told the Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution that Ireland faces a "clear choice" - introduce legislation allowing abortion on a wide range of grounds or hold another referendum banning pregnancy terminations.

The campaign's legal adviser, Prof William Binchy, yesterday led a delegation to meet committee chairman Mr Jim O'Keeffe to emphasise their desire to reword Article 40.3.3. following the X case.

With a general election in sight, the campaign will intensify its lobbying of politicians to support its call for another referendum. It has already made a written submission to the Oireachtas committee set up to consider the report of the Constitutional Review Group, published last year.

The group recommended that abortion be legislated for rather than constitutionally prohibited.

Prof Binchy said the electorate had the right "in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good".

"Since the majority of people in this country do not want abortion, the proper and democratic approach is to hold a constitutional referendum that will give the electorate the option of protecting the unborn," he said.

According to Prof Binchy, the introduction of abortion legislation would, in effect, overturn the democratically expressed wishes of the voters in 1983 "that the right to life of the unborn be constitutionally protected".

"Abortion raises such important questions about our society's values that a national abortion debate, taking place at the most fundamental level of the Constitution, would be timely and appropriate," he added.

Prof Binchy was accompanied at yesterday's meeting by Dr Ciaran Craven and Dr Berry Kiely. A campaign spokesman said later that groups were being established in the State's 41 constituencies to lobby for constitutional change on abortion.

Mr O'Keeffe will refer the argument made by the Pro Life Campaign yesterday to the Oireachtas committee for further discussion.