Labour conference: Ferris could ‘wallpaper room’ with abortion hatemail
Women experiencing crisis pregnancies are ‘trapped in this country’ ,TD says
Labour backbencher Anne Ferris has said she could wallpaper a room with the amount of hatemail she has received for her stance on abortion. File photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish TimesAnne Ferris
The Wicklow TD said the people who contacted her in this way could not call themselves Christians.
“I could wallpaper one of the rooms at home with all the hatemail that I’ve got from people. It’s absolutely disgusting. I get it by email, I get it by letter, I get anonymous phone calls,” she said.
“These people who say they are Catholics and what I’m saying is disgraceful, they are not Christian people. They are not Christian people.”
Ms Ferris said Labour was the only party which had declared clearly that it wanted a referendum on the issue.
She said not one person under the age of 51 had voted in the referendum which resulted in the Eighth Amendment.
The 1983 amendment enshrined the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn into the Constitution.
“Women of childbearing age now did not have a vote. That’s two generations possibly of women did not vote to have that amendment in the Constitution,” she said.
“We don’t have equality for women in this country.”
She said people were worried about there being “absolutely no protection” for the unborn in the event of the Eighth Amendment being removed from the Constitution.
However, Labour had legislation “ready to go” in that event.
Ms Ferris said the Labour Party was the “moral backbone” of the Government.
“I believe that women have a right to chose. I believe that women, especially in crisis pregnancies, don’t need anybody, don’t need the Church, don’t need men, don’t need other political parties dictating to them,” she said.
Women pregnant as a result of rape or incest, or who had received a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality, were “trapped in this country”.
She said the only option they had if they wanted to terminate their pregnancy was to go to England.
“We don’t have the places here to look after women and that’s an absolute disgrace.” Women experiencing crisis pregnancies were “our sisters, mothers, daughters, aunts”.