Ireland Considers Repealing Abortion Ban

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by Rodney Pelletier  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  December 16, 2016   

Battle rages over Eighth Amendment

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DUBLIN (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Irish Assembly is debating whether to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution banning abortion.

On December 16, the 99-person Citizens' Assembly is closing its request for submissions on whether the amendment acknowledging an unborn child's life as important as his mother's life is to be thrown out or amended. The suggestions are to help the assembly to decide how they will approach the issue when they meet to discuss it in June 2018. So far, more than 4,500 submissions have been made.

The review is the result of a comment issued by the UN Human Rights Commission in June saying Ireland's abortion law subjects women to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.


The Eighth Amendment was added to the Irish Constitution in 1983 reinforcing an 1861 law forbidding abortion. It was passed by a 67-percent majority in the Irish Parliament and enjoyed considerable support by Irish Catholic bishops.

It reads, "The state acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right."

Although some pro-life advocates feel the language could be stronger, it's one of Europe's strongest declarations in favor of the unborn.

Abortion activists have been pushing to overturn the amendment. Cora Sherlock, a spokeswoman for the Ireland-based Pro-life Campaign, commented to Church Militant that some Irish tax-funded groups like the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) and the National Women's Council of Ireland are pushing to repeal the amendment.

Sherlock says foreign-based organizations like Amnesty International, the Center for Reproductive Rights and George Soros' Open Society Foundation (OSF) are organizing the fight and putting millions of dollars into it. An OSF letter leaked in September said of Ireland, "With one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world, a win there could impact other strongly Catholic countries in Europe, such as Poland, and provide much needed proof that change is possible, even in highly conservative places."

In November Poland would have been the only European country to completely outlaw abortion, but owing to Soros' influence and a lack of conviction on the part of Polish Catholic bishops, the abortion law has remained the same.

 

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Rodney Pelletier

Rodney Pelletier is a staff writer for ChurchMilitant.com.

Follow Rodney on Twitter: @RodPelletier