Hands Tied

In Blog, Politicsby Fedayn6 Comments

Abortion Rights Campaign (Photograph © William Hederman & Eilis Murphy)

Abortion Rights Campaign (Photograph © William Hederman & Eilis Murphy)

It seems the new Draft Bill on Protection of Life During Pregnancy is winning few supporters from any side of the debate. It’s not just the zombies and immaculate conception brigade either. Here’s the view from the ARC and NWCI

The Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) spokesperson Sinéad Redmond said,

“It’s immediately apparent from this bill that it ignores the needs of the majority of women in Ireland who seek abortions; it continues to tie the hands of the many families each year faced with a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality, women whose health is endangered by pregnancy, as well as women made pregnant by rape or incest. This Bill will criminalise the thousands of women in Ireland every year who self-administer the abortion pill and discourage them from seeking necessary medical assistance if needed.”

Also commenting, ARC spokesperson Cathie Doherty said,

“We are deeply concerned that the Bill ignores the advice of the Expert Group Report on Abortion and the expert perinatal psychiatrists consulted, by differentiating between mental and physical health. This Bill requires that an obstetrician is involved in assessing a woman’s suicide risk even though this was directly challenged in the Oireachtas Health Committee hearings by perinatal psychiatrists in May 2013.

In addition to this, a very small number of doctors have expressed opposition to abortion under all circumstances. We demand to see specific reassurances put in place that they will not be allowed to sit on assessment panels where they could deny abortions to gravely ill women.”

More ARC reaction here

Meanwhile the National Women’s Council of Ireland states that defects in the bill must be addressed to protect women’s lives. Jacqueline Healy of the NWCI:

“Since the publication of the Heads of Bill in April, the NWCI and many other organisations raised grave concerns about the proposed legislation. It appears on an initial reading of the Bill that none of these concerns have been taken on board. In fact it appears that the possibility of conscientious objection has been strengthened to the detriment of the woman’s life so that medical personnel are not obliged to carry out an abortion if he or she has a conscientious objection. No individual’s conscience should be allowed to put a woman’s life in danger. We believe that there should be an explicit duty to treat in a medical emergency regardless of any conscientious objection.”

Ann Irwin, Policy Officer NWCI said:

“The final bill does not decriminalise abortion. There is a great danger this legislation will not change the current situation and women whose lives may be at risk during pregnancy will be no better off. The government had a real opportunity to get it right. NWCI have called for reasonable and practical amendments to the draft legislation so that procedures follow normal clinical practice and abortion is decriminalised. These changes would have enhanced accessibility and eliminated the chilling effect that the current situation has on both women and their doctors.”

“The Irish Times / IPSO poll published today shows the high level of public support for X case legislation. However this Bill contains so many onerous procedures it will impede women realizing their right to an abortion contained in the X case judgment. We urge the government to take on our amendments during the Dail and Seanad debates so that we will have timely, effective and accessible procedures that protects the lives of women in Ireland.”

For more from NWCI click here



  1. Specifically only deals with the infamous “case X”, it’s a micky mouse bill, along with banning the piratebay , the dail are hitting it out of the park this week xD

  2. Here comes the new draft….same as the old draft,did we really expect the misogynists in power to act on behalf of women?

  3. Well thats a shame, they really had a chance to change things. Instead the gutless wonders have stuck their heads in the sand thanks to the shoutings of the monster raving looneys imported from the usa.

    I still could face 14 years imprisionment for my bodily autonomy…. Well done lads I am a taxpayer and a voter. next election we’l see how well this swung for you.

  4. The suicide provision is all they were bound to do by X though or am I wrong? They were never going to go further no matter what the convention said

  5. @John Mc, yes, in order to go further we need to repeal the 8th amendment with a referendum (and it seems from the poll released by the Irish Times today that a large majority are in favour of abortion in a much larger range of circumstances than are currently legal as our constitution stands today)

  6. Pingback: Weekly Roundup: Jeopardy around the Globe and Weighing in on New Legislation | Abortion Rights Campaign Ireland

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