Government wants to keep exporting women

Bertie Ahern and Mary Harney (yes, that great liberal crusader) are going to have yet another abortion referendum next spring. At present abortion is only allowed in Ireland if the woman is in imminent danger of death because of her pregnancy.

In 1992 the Supreme Court ruled that this can include women who are at risk of committing suicide. It arose from the 'X' case, where a raped and suicidal 14 year old wanted to go to England for an abortion and the government got a court injunction to prevent her.

Massive demonstrations and public outrage, which the WSM were central in organising, forced the state to back down. Now the government wants to exclude suicide as a reason for abortion.

The Fianna Fáil and PD hypocrites are happy to legally guarantee that any woman can go to Britain for an abortion. As long as it doesn't happen in Holy Catholic Ireland it's ok. But if you try to abort your pregnancy here it could mean 12 years in jail. The visit of the Women on Waves ship earlier this year, revealed there were dozens of women who were unable to travel to Britain for an abortion.

Last year over 6,500 Irish women went abroad for abortions. Rather than provide the necessary facilities here, women are forced to borrow money and sneak off to another country.

Organisations including the Irish Family Planning Association, Cork Right to Choose Group, Lawyers for Choice, Dublin Abortion Rights Group and the Workers' Solidarity Movement have come together to campaign for a 'no' vote to defeat this backward anti-woman referendum.

Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin, a spokesperson for the Alliance for a NO vote said: "The only consensus on these proposals is between Bertie Ahern and those who want to reverse the X Case Judgment. The Taoiseach's proposals put Irish women's lives at risk. They will criminalise suicidal women who attempt to self-abort. And they create a new criminal offence for any Irish women desperate enough to try to self-abort, or for anyone who tries to help her".

Catherine Naji, another Alliance spokesperson said: "In the absence of services being provided in Ireland, women on low incomes will continue to join Ireland's hidden waiting list outside moneylenders' houses, borrowing for a late abortion in Britain."

The Workers Solidarity Movement will be throwing its resources into the campaign to defeat Bertie and Mary's attempt to make things even worse for women with unwanted pregnancies. Within the campaign we will also be explaining why we think that women should have a right to choose whether or not to have an abortion; why adequate support must be given to women who decide to have children; and why abortion should be available on the medical card in public hospitals in our own country.

We can win. In 1992 we beat the bigots and won the right to information and travel. In 1996 we won the right to divorce. Now let's stop this callous proposal and start pushing forward for more choice and more freedom.

The Alliance for a NO vote can be contacted at P.O. Box 8306, Dublin 1,

Alan MacSimóin

Workers Solidarity

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This edition is No67 published in Nov 2001

Cover of Workers Solidarity 67

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