Meeting hears call for referendum on abortion this year


The Pro-Life Campaign will expect definitive answers from the Government on its intentions regarding a new abortion referendum before the European and local elections, according to the campaign's legal consultant. Ms Caroline Simons called on Mr Ahern to hold the referendum in 1999.

She was addressing a conference of the campaign in UCD on Saturday. The event was attended by Lord Alton of Liverpool (the former Mr David Alton MP) and TDs Ms Mildred Fox (ind) and Mr Sean Doherty (FF).

"The Taoiseach promised the Irish people in 1997 that the issue of abortion would be addressed by way of referendum. However, the Government is procrastinating in finding a satisfactory solution to the issue," she said.

"The wishes of the people as to how the issues should be addressed are consistent and well-known. Opinion polls repeatedly show that the electorate wants it resolved by a referendum." Most local authorities had also called for a referendum, she said.

"The recent ethical guidelines of the Medical Council confirm that abortion is not medically necessary and is classified as professional misconduct. To suggest that it is not possible to give legal backing to existing Irish medical practice is utter nonsense."

Ms Simons said that this could be addressed in law only by holding a new referendum. She said increased supports were needed for women with crisis pregnancies.