Citizens’ Assembly and the Constitution
Sir, – The outcome of the voting at the Citizens’ Assembly is depressing though not greatly surprising in light of the imbalanced presentations to the Assembly and the relentless media campaigns against the Eighth Amendment.
However, the vote makes one thing crystal clear: the real choice for voters at the inevitable referendum will be between the current situation and abortion on demand. Voters should not believe politicians’ blandishments that the amendment of Article 40.3.3 is intended to allow legislation for emotive cases such as rape or congenital disability. If protection is not provided in the Constitution, legislation for abortion on demand will follow. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – The tabulated results of the Citizens’ Assembly vote given in Evelyn Mahon’s article make interesting reading (“Citizens’ Assembly abortion voting more nuanced than first appeared”, April 27th). Thirteen reasons for abortion are given, and for each reason a vote could be cast in five different ways: four to take account of the stage of pregnancy, and a fifth to allow abstention. This provides useful information on how foetal development affects opinion on whether abortion should be allowed, although its possible that having three ways of voting Yes, and only one way of voting No, might have had an impact on the result. The table provides some analysis by adding up all the Yes votes and comparing them to the No votes. While this may seems an obvious thing to do, conflating the yes response in this fashion could be misleading. For example, the fact that a vote of Yes to abortion in the first 12 weeks, is also a No vote for the remaining 28 weeks, is overlooked.
Taking the results as a whole, the vote appears not only to reject a strong pro-life position, but a strong pro-choice position as well. It favours early abortion in most circumstances, but is also against late abortion unless there is a serious risk to the mother’s health or life. This suggests some protection of the unborn life is preferred, although less than is accorded at present. A right to life for the born or unborn should not be a matter of legislation, but something that is enshrined in the Constitution. To reach the middle ground chosen by the Citizens’ Assembly, the Eighth Amendment would need to be replaced rather than repealed. – Yours, etc,
Templeogue, Dublin 6W.
Sir, – The 13th Amendment allows Irish women to access abortion in any other country but Ireland. The Citizens’ Assembly members have through five months of detailed, impartial work proposed abortion laws that are in line with the majority of European countries. Their proposal would effectively allow the 13th Amendment’s access to abortion to finally apply to Ireland and remove the hypocrisy it created. Irish women should always be supported by the Irish medical system. – Yours, etc,