Eighth Amendment ‘damages lives’, Fine Gael TD says

Irish Times ‘Inside Politics’ podcast: Cora Sherlock says being pro-life is not misogynistic

Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell has claimed voters and politicians are complicit in the suffering of women by retaining the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

On the latest Irish Times 'Inside Politics' podcast, Ms O'Connell debated Cora Sherlock from the Pro-Life campaign on the Amendment, which places the life of the unborn on an equal footing with that of the mother.

Ms O’Connell said the Amendment is anti-women and eroding the rights of women to make choices about their own body.

“By keeping the eighth as it is we, as voters and me as an elected person, are somehow complicit in the suffering of women and somehow responsible for the suffering of families,” she said.


“It is a very damaging law. It harms people’s lives and people’s wellbeing. We have to consider that.”

Ms Sherlock, from the Pro-Life campaign, said the Amendment is a life or death issue and insisted its retention in the Constitution was essential for the protection of women.

She claimed the unborn is ignored in the debate dominated by the pro-choice campaign.

Ms Sherlock said there were many women in Ireland who suffered abortion regret and whose stories are not being listened to.

“There is a fantasy position in Ireland at the minute that a pro-life position is somehow misogynistic, that it is anti-women,” she said. “It is actually the opposite because pro-life empowers women to continue their pregnancies.”

Travel abroad

Ms O’Connell said the Pro-Life campaign is advocating a situation where thousands of Irish women are forced to travel abroad for terminations.

“The fact of the matter is 10 - 12 women a day are hopping on a plane and going to Liverpool or wherever. They arrive in a country,” she said.

“They get a discount because they are Irish, that is the first thing. The minimum price is €1000 to get across, you may be looking at €500 or 600 for the procedure but flights too.

“We have women, our women, maybe alone or hopefully with somebody landing in another country. having their legs put into stirrups, having a procedure done.

“From the time they get an back on the street an hour later, vomiting in their hotel on their own an hour later. That is no way to treat women in a civilised society. That is what Cora is advocating.”

The Government has established a citizen’s assembly to examine the eighth amendment.

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy will chair the body and 99 members of public will be appointed to the convention.

Ms Sherlock said the assembly was a pretend process with a pre-determined outcome.

She said the assembly was the “first step on a very strict, very clear pavement to remove the last legal protection for the unborn child in Ireland”.