End “great cruelty” inflicted by new abortion bill, says ICCL

24 July 2013
Press release – for immediate release

Ireland's human rights watchdog, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has today (24 July 2013) echoed calls by Minister for Justice and Equality Alan Shatter TD for an end to the “great cruelty” inflicted on women by the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013.

Speaking after the formal presentation of the Bill to President Michael D. Higgins, ICCL Director Mr Mark Kelly said:

“The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill does no more than the absolute bare minimum to meet the Government’s legal obligations following the 1992 Supreme Court decision in the X case, and the 2010 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of A,B and C v Ireland.”

“However, as Minister Shatter has highlighted this afternoon, the highly restrictive terms of the legislation impose “great cruelty” on women who, in more civilised societies, would be entitled to seek lawful termination of their pregnancies. This includes women who have been diagnosed with fatal foetal abnormalities and those who have become pregnant as a result of rape or incest. The Bill also imposes upon medical professionals a highly artificial distinction between a threat to the life as opposed to a threat to the health of a woman – a distinction which, if retained in law, could again result in tragic consequences.”

“Minister Shatter is also correct to suggest that this is an issue on which the thinking of the general public is “a great deal more advanced” than that of legislators. The Government should act quickly to remove the remaining legal / constitutional impediments to the creation of a modern regime for the lawful termination of pregnancies in Ireland.”


For further information or comment contact:

Walter Jayawardene
Communications Manager
Irish Council for Civil Liberties
9-13 Blackhall Place
Dublin 7

Tel. + 353 1 799 4503
Mob: +353 87 9981574   
Fax. + 353 1 799 4512
E-mail  walter.jayawardene@iccl.ie
Web     www.iccl.ie

Note to editors:

•    The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill was passed by the Seanad yesterday evening, and was today sent to President Michael D. Higgins.
•    Minister Shatter’s remarks were made today in Dublin at the launch of the Rape Crisis Centre’s annual report.

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