Wednesday 1 May 2013

Irish abortion bill worse than Britain's 1967 Abortion Act

Irish govt launches abortion bill
The draft bill on abortion published today by the Irish government is worse that Britain's 1967 Abortion Act.

Pat Buckley, who represents SPUC in Ireland, said in Dublin today:
"Far from being restrictive as the government claims, the bill has the potential to lead to widespread availability of abortion.

The Irish bill proposes to abolish sections 58 & 59 of the Offences Against The Person Act 1861, under which abortion in general remains a criminal offence. That provision is retained even in Britain. The vast majority of abortions in Britain are in fact unlawful under the 1861 Act if the Abortion Act was interpreted honestly (instead of being widely flouted).

Regarding abortion for suicidal mothers, the bill goes beyond both the mental health grounds of Britain's 1967 Abortion Act and of British case-law such as the 1938 Bourne judgment. Unlike British law, the bill makes suicide an explicit, statute-level ground for abortion.

The bill explicitly removes protection for unborn children before implantation in the womb, thus ensuring that they can be aborted legally by drugs and devices such as the morning-after pill.

Even the name of the bill "Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013" is misleading and hypocritical, as it does not protect unborn life in a wide variety of circumstances and is contrary to the equal protection for mothers and their unborn children under the Irish Constitution.

We call upon all Irishmen and women to unite to ensure that this bill is thrown out of the Oireachtas at the first vote. There must be absolute and unequivocal opposition to all abortion expressed loud and clear by church leaders, pro-life groups and politicians. Today must mark the end, not the beginning, of abortion in Ireland."
Robin Haig, solicitor, SPUC 's chairman, and a leading figure in the Assocation of Lawyers in Defence of the Unborn (ALDU), added:
"The 1861 Act did not appear out of the ether in 1861; it was the distillation of centuries of Common Law cases, discussion, thought and application plus several decades of previous statutes which were refined to end in the 1861 Act which has stood the test of time for 150 years. They discard it at their peril. Sections 58 and 59 of the 1861 Act have the great benefit of being simple and clear whereas this new law requires pages and pages of provisions and explanations, all of which will provide ample room for smart lawyers and abortion campaigners to find loopholes and demands for improvement and updating in years to come."
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