Dáil must implement Citizens’ Assembly proposals
Press Release- Solidarity- People Before Profit 02/05/2017
Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have no right to dilute Citizens’ Assembly proposals
At a press conference in Dublin today, the Solidarity- People Before Profit Dáil grouping outlined their priorities on the special Dáil Committee on the 8th Amendment and called for no more delays in holding a constitutional referendum to repeal the 8th. The most effective way to fulfil the wishes of the Citizens’ Assembly is to immediately repeal the Eighth Amendment.
Bríd Smith TD and Ruth Coppinger TD will represent Solidarity- People Before Profit on the committee.
Bríd Smith, People Before Profit TD said: “The Government and Fianna Fail trumpeted the Citizens’ Assembly as the best democratic forum to discuss what “the people of middle Ireland” think about abortion. They got their answer from the 90 plus citizens who, without any shadow of doubt, indicated that there needs to be a radical reform of both the Constitution and Irish laws in order to permit access to abortion.
“The Oireachtas have no right whatsoever to try to dilute the outcome of the Citizens’ Assembly that they so loudly heralded as the most democratic forum for discussion. They might not like the outcome but tough, they now have to deal with it and act without delay.
“We must ensure that there is guaranteed access for all women living in Ireland who want or need access to abortion and that medically unnecessary obstacles are not placed in their way. Abortion is a healthcare issue and must be treated as one.”
Ruth Coppinger, Solidarity TD said: “The government faces a church-state crisis over abortion rights and women’s health. How far the Dáil is behind public opinion is now clear.
“Handing control of the National Maternity Hospital to a Catholic religious order is no longer acceptable. Similarly, the Citizens’ Assembly recommendations are way beyond all Dáil groupings bar Solidarity-People Before Profit. Having outsourced responsibility to the Citizens’ Assembly, the Dáil should now accept its findings that the 8th Amendment has to go, abortion must be provided in the Irish health service and women themselves should be making these decisions.
“Solidarity-People Before Profit will share responsibility on the special Oireachtas Committee to argue there is no ‘watering down’ of the Assembly’s findings, that there is a referendum held in the autumn and that nothing is placed in the Constitution policing women’s bodies or giving rights to the ‘unborn’. ”
Rita Harrold from ROSA said: “A campaign of political pressure is needed to get the government to call a referendum on repeal. The political establishment are far behind public opinion on abortion as shown by their reaction to the Citizens’ Assembly vote.
“Once a Repeal referendum is won, the new abortion law needs to be fit for purpose, the hypocrisy of sending people on planes and boats must end. Legislating in line with the Citizens Assembly vote will do that. The proposal not to limit abortion rights in the first trimester would end the current situation where Irish women are more likely then to have later term abortions because of the 8th Amendment.
“We urge pro-choice people to get active not just once a referendum is called, canvassing etc. but now, to ensure the government don’t get away with a fudge. The first step in this campaign is the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment Rally outside the Dáil at 5:30 this evening.”
Peadar O’Grady, founding member of Doctors for Choice, said: “The Citizen’s Assembly recommendations mean that the wishes of the vast majority of women to have an abortion can be addressed without breaking the law. We now have to ensure that abortion services are actually available from publicly funded health services but also that the only medically justified restriction for access to abortion is informed consent like for any other medical procedure.”
Sinéad Kennedy, Secretary of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment said: “The Citizens’ Assembly have made clear that it is the job of the Oireachtas to legislate for abortion. The best way for the recommendations of the Assembly to be implemented is for the Government to call a referendum, without delay, and repeal the eighth amendment from the Constitution. An overwhelming majority of Assembly members – 87 per cent – voted to reform Ireland’s abortion laws and ensure that women could access abortion here. Ireland’s abortion regime disproportionally effects women who are the poorest and most marginalised. We would ask members of the Oireachtas to remember that for every day they delay, 10 women are forced to travel abroad for an abortion. It is time for the government to do its job and ensure abortion access for all women living in Ireland.”
Bríd Smith TD- 087 909 0166
Ruth Coppinger TD- 087 673 0187
Nick Lee- 087 615 6473
David Murphy- 085 822 1795