Call on government to make Irish abortion laws reflect that of rest of Europe

Abortion Rights Campaigners say it is time Ireland's abortion laws are brought into line with the rest of Europe.

Campaigners have reacted to comments made by the UN this week which challenged Ireland’s lack of progression on the issue.

The comments came from a United Nation committee which found that Ireland violated the human rights of a woman who had to travel to Britain for an abortion after her baby was diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality.

Abortion Rights Campaign spokesperson Michali Hyams said the government needs to do more than just call another referendum.

She said that the government needs to ensure that the referendum passes to ensure that Ireland comes in line with UN human right laws.

“It’s not enough for us to call a referendum, have it not pass and then our laws still aren’t compliant,” said Ms Hyams.

Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment has also called on the government to ensure it times the referendum on repeal of the Eighth Amendment to facilitate full and active participation by all sectors of society.

They said that holding a referendum during the summer months could affect the participation of students, who may travel during these months.

The Coalition also stressed the need for the referendum to be “standalone”, focusing solely on the issue of abortion.

Ailbhe Smyth, Convenor of the Coalition, said: “Media reports that the Taoiseach is looking at June or July of next year for the referendum are extremely worrying, as are indications that the Government may decide to hold more than one referendum at the same time.”

She said that repealing the Eighth Amendment is far too important and complex an issue to be bundled together with other potential referendum topics.

“The people of Ireland have been waiting over 30 years for their chance to repeal this harmful Amendment,” said Ms Smyth.

“Opinion polls show the public want this issue addressed in a timely and definitive way, while a range of EU and UN bodies have sternly criticised Ireland’s failings and have urged the Government to reform Ireland’s abortion laws,” she added.

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