Citizens’ Assembly recommends unrestricted abortion in Ireland

Citizens’ Assembly recommends unrestricted abortion in Ireland

[Do the Assembly’s results represent Irish public opinion or seek to manipulate it?]

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC)

April 24, 2017 (SPUC via LifeSiteNews) — The Citizens’ Assembly, the Irish body charged with examining the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects the equal right to life of the mother and baby, recommended this weekend that Ireland legislate for abortion, with many saying there should be no restrictions at all.

The Assembly, which consisted of 99 people randomly selected by a polling company and chaired by a Supreme Court judge, Ms. Justice Mary Laffoy, voted on a series of questions on Saturday, April 23, and Sunday, April 24.

In the first ballot, a substantial majority (87 percent) voted that Article 40.3.3., known as the Eighth Amendment, should not be retained in full. The second ballot stopped short of completely repealing it, with 56 percent voting that it instead be replaced and amended. In the third ballot, 57 percent voted for a constitutional change allowing the Oireachtas to legislate on abortion, as opposed to 43 percent advocating direct provision.

No restrictions

The most shocking results from the weekend’s meeting emerged from a series of ballots addressing situations in which abortion might be permitted. The Assembly voted to legalise the killing of unborn babies in 13 separate cases including rape, foetal abnormalities, and socio-economic issues, and there was a substantial vote in favour of eliminating any distinction between the physical and mental health of the pregnant woman. Almost two-thirds of the Assembly voted for decriminalisation of abortion, with almost half (48 percent) recommending an unrestricted right to kill an unborn baby in the first three months of pregnancy, and 44 percent saying this should be extended to 22 weeks. Eight percent thought there should be no restrictions on gestational age.

Right to life not subject to vote

Pro-life groups immediately condemned the process as one sided, and as not being reflective of the views of the majority of the Irish people. Maria Madise, SPUC’s International Director, said: “”These results from the Citizen’s Assembly are appalling but not surprising. The process was flawed from the beginning, and was set up by the Irish Government to deliver a decision calling for a referendum on abortion but keeping the process at arms length from the government. Nevertheless, the Irish state has a moral and legal obligation to protect the human rights of everyone within its jurisdiction.

“The right-to-life is the most fundamental of all human rights and is recognised by international law. No state, no legislature, regardless of public opinion, can abrogate or deny fundamental human rights. Therefore, all calls to hold a referendum must be rejected by Irish lawmakers and by the Irish people, because the right-to-life is non-negotiable and can never be subject to a vote.”

Reality of 50 years of abortion

Pat Buckley, SPUC’s UN and Ireland consultant, added: “This result in no way reflects the view of the Irish people. It is particularly horrifying that the members, who heard first hand the reality of abortion, voted to allow it in almost any circumstance. Those who voted for abortion with no restriction should look to the example of the UK, where 50 years of legalised abortion has led to nearly 9 million dead babies and countless numbers of women being damaged. We do not believe that most Irish people want this for their country, and urge people to reject this flawed Assembly and continue to protect the lives of mothers and babies.”

The results of the voting process will be included in a report to be submitted to the Dáil sometime in June and will initially be considered by a 20-member Oireachtas Committee, which may or may not take on board the recommendations of the Assembly, either in full or in part, and will decide whether or not legislative changes should be put to the two houses of the Oireachtas, the Dáil and Seanad. It is now likely that those recommendations will include a call for a new referendum, which could be held early next year.

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One comment on “Citizens’ Assembly recommends unrestricted abortion in Ireland

  1. Ireland: Chaotic Citizens Assembly Votes to Repeal Pro-Life 8th Amendment With No Debate


    The Pro Life Campaign has described as “farcical and wholly unacceptable” the way the Citizens’ Assembly voted for abortion on several grounds today without any prior debate or expert advice being sought before making decisions.

    Commenting on the votes that took place over the weekend, Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign said: “One only had to follow the weekend proceedings to see how muddled, confused and managed Assembly Members had become.

    “The Oireachtas Committee charged with considering the recommendations have a duty to first examine how the Assembly was allowed to operate in such a one-sided, unscientific and chaotic way. Assembly Members, for example, voted overwhelmingly for abortion on grounds of ‘mental health risk’ to the mother. They did so without a single presentation on the issue or hearing from any expert witnesses. One wonders if they are even aware that their decision flies in the face of the expert peer reviewed evidence in this area.”

    Ms Sherlock continued: “There is absolutely nothing liberal or progressive about Assembly Members recommending a referendum to strip unborn babies of their right to life or making up gestational time limits for abortion just seconds before voting, without regard to the consequences the decision could have down the road for babies whose lives hang in the balance.

    “The writing was on the wall for weeks after the Assembly invited groups like BPAS,[1] Britain’s largest abortion provider, to address them but never, for example, extended a single invitation to groups representing parents who say they owe the life of their child to the Eighth Amendment. This one-sided approach is typical of how the Assembly conducted its business from the get-go.”

    Referring to any possible referendum in the future stripping protections from the unborn child, Ms Sherlock said: “It’s far from certain that it would pass. According to polls, support for dismantling the Eighth Amendment is extremely soft. With each passing day people are becoming more aware of what’s at stake and the barbarity of what happens in the name of ‘choice’ and ‘compassion’ once abortion is legalised.

    Ms Sherlock concluded: “Understandably, pro-life supporters will be disappointed with today’s result but it’s no reason to become disheartened. Human rights don’t get old. They don’t pass their sell-by-date.

    “When abortion is introduced, even on ‘restrictive’ grounds, it is only a matter of time before the grounds are expanded. When particular categories of human beings are singled out as unworthy of legal protection in the womb, we undermine respect for all human life, born and unborn. There is no escaping this reality. In spite of what the Citizens’ Assembly have done, I believe this message is starting to hit home with people. That can only be a good thing for the future of the Eighth Amendment.”

    [1] BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service) is Britain’s largest abortion provider. They regard unborn babies as having no right to life at all and routinely abort them right up to birth. BPAS received a scathing health and safety reprimand from the British Care Quality Commission in 2016 after 11 serious incidents in a 15-month period involving women being transferred for emergency medical care in hospital after undergoing an abortion in BPAS clinics. The Citizens Assembly invited BPAS to address them as “impartial experts” and never challenged them or flagged to the public any of the issues raised above.

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