Pro-choice figures accused of seeking broad abortion law


ANTI-ABORTION LOBBY:Anti-abortion campaigner Caroline Simons has suggested that some X case legislation supporters favoured widespread abortion.

Ms Simons was replying to Fine Gael TD Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, who said an EWTN global Catholic television network programme claimed that “agents of the culture of death” were trying to have abortion legalised in Ireland. Ms Simons, she said, was featured and thanked for contributing.

Ms Simons said she was not aware of being featured on EWTN. “I don’t know any agents of the culture of death, I hope. Certainly they have not identified themselves as such to me,” she added.

“That is not to say that I don’t believe that there are interests, inside and outside the country, who are trying to influence the debate here who would favour legislation for widespread abortion.”

Ms Simons and Dr Berry Kiely, from the Pro Life Campaign, were among groups opposing X case legislation who were heard by the committee.

Others present included Dr Eoghan de Faoite and Dr Seán Ó Domhnaill of Youth Defence, Patrick Carr and David Manley of Family and Life, and Breda O’Brien of the Iona Institute.

Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway said he would consider some of the Youth Defence campaigning in the past “barbaric” and asked if there would be “appalling billboard campaigns” in the coming months.

Dr de Faoite said Youth Defence members campaigned in a perfectly normal way and some were subjected to abuse on social media. Committee chairman and Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer said while abuse was coming from both sides, in his humble opinion “your campaigning methodology needs to be reviewed”.

When Dr Ó Domhnaill suggested the chairman’s intervention had impugned the dignity of the proceedings, Mr Buttimer said he was entitled to give an opinion.