Abortion debate reaches fever pitch in Ireland: govt under heavy pressure
DUBLIN, November 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Ireland’s prime minister is reportedly facing a backlash from his own party over rumored plans to legalize abortion in the Republic.
Since the leak of a government report from the expert group appointed to examine the country’s abortion law, the public debate over abortion, already at fever pitch, has heightened. The government is under huge pressure, from within the Fine Gael/Labour coalition and from international abortion activists and the EU, following the death of a young Indian mother who they claim died because she was “refused” an abortion. Taoiseach Enda Kenny is caught between strong public disapproval of abortion and opposition from his own backbench MPs and ministers on the one hand and pressure from Labour coalition partners who have legalisation as part of their party agenda.
Lucinda Creighton, the Minister of State for European Affairs, has reminded the PM of the party’s election promise never to bring forward abortion legislation. She pointed out that Britain’s abortion regime, allowing abortion on “mental health” grounds, has created effective abortion-on-demand, with 95 per cent of UK abortions carried out on this ground in 2009. She warned against “bulldozing” a decision before Christmas, saying it is “unfair, suppresses debate and eliminates the potential for consensus,” the Independent said.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter has attempted to quash concern from pro-lifers, saying the government will not consider legalization of abortion on demand “in any shape or form”. In a speech in the Dail, Shatter said, “We should also be clear on what we are not doing. We are not considering, in any shape or form, abortion on demand as is alleged by some.”
Shatter, however, echoed pro-abortion campaigners, saying, “The truth is we have had, for three decades, a deeply dysfunctional and obtuse legal architecture badly in need of reform.”
Perhaps most ominously, Shatter said, “In the absence of constitutional change there will continue to be a British solution to this Irish problem.”
He added, “Whatever action Government takes we will still have in this country one of the most restrictive laws in Europe with regard to the termination of pregnancies.”
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Pro-life advocates remain deeply skeptical of the government’s intentions, however. They have launched a public education campaign to counteract what abortion advocates say is an increase in support for abortion since the announcement of the death of Savita Halappanavar two weeks ago.
Playing on the government’s own propaganda for the recent Children’s’ Rights Referendum, Youth Defence will ask the government whether they really mean that “every child matters”.
The information blitz organized by Youth Defence will use Fine Gael’s own posters from the referendum. Youth Defence will be calling for Kenny to keep the pro-life promise he made during Election 2011. At that time Fine Gael said that it opposed the legalization of abortion in Ireland - a commitment Youth Defence says that it now must uphold when reviewing the expert group report on abortion.
“If Enda Kenny thinks he can simply railroad through abortion legislation, he is sorely mistaken,” the Life Institute’s Niamh Ui Bhriain told LifeSiteNews.com.
“Fine Gael made a pro-life promise during Election 2011 and we aim to ensure that promise is kept and that mothers and babies are protected in Ireland. Abortion is a medieval solution to crisis pregnancy and Ireland can do better for mothers and babies.”
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