Human Rights

Ireland’s pro-life status in jeopardy?

Tough times.

Ireland’s status as a pro-life nation is still in jeopardy after a lengthy battle between both sides. In 1992, Ireland’s Supreme Court ordered the government to enact a law permitting abortion in the case that a mother’s life is at risk; the case that prompted the decision is referred to as the “X-case.” It comes in response to a 14-year-old girl who became suicidal after being denied an abortion after she was raped.

That ruling has been pending for the past 20 years, and as of this week, Ireland’s government is planning to announce a draft of an abortion law which would allow abortions on certain medical grounds, including the threat by the mother to commit suicide. This debate is still being fought between Fine Gael, the more conservative party and the Labor party, the latter being the more left-leaning party.

Additional criticism is taking place after The Sunday Independent published a report of an undercover sting operation from a pro-life activist. During the video, the activist recorded two Labor politicians claiming that the current law pending is not the final law, but a steppingstone towards abortion on demand.

Additional pro-lifers responded, calling out the Labor party and claimed that the undercover footage was proof of the pro-abortion agenda. Caroline Simons, legal adviser to the Pro Life Campaign, says this will come as a surprise to the citizens.

Fine Gael lawmaker Brian Walsh has vowed to oppose any bill that includes risk of suicide as justification for abortion.

A 2012 poll conducted by research firm Red-C concluded that 85 percent who were surveyed supported this “X-case” legislation, so time will tell if public opinion will have any impact.

Joan O’Connell from Dublin believes that public opinion is inspired by personal experiences. “Although this is a deeply emotional issue, many people in Ireland are generally reasonable and understand the nuances of actual cases – once the discussion is taken out of the abstract. The figures on women who travel for abortion necessarily mean that there are many people in Ireland know a woman who has had an abortion, even if they are unaware of it,” said O’Connell.

A leak published last week from The Sunday Times claimed that any woman seeking an abortion would be required to submit to an assessment by a panel of six hospital doctors. Ireland’s government denies this claim.

Abortion supporters reject the claim that this bill will lead to abortion on demand, stating that the eighth amendment from Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortion forbids abortion by giving an equal right to the mother and child.

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