Pro-life groups have expressed grave concerns and alarm after the Citizens’ Assembly in Ireland called for abortion to be allowed without restriction.
The Citizens’ Assembly, a randomly selected group of 99 members of the public and chaired by Supreme Court Judge Mary Laffoy, voted in favour of terminations in cases of rape, foetal abnormalities including non-fatal conditions, a risk to the mother’s health and for socio-economic reasons.
The committee also called for no distinction to be drawn between the woman’s health issue being physical or mental.
Judge Laffoy will include the results in a report being submitted to the Irish parliament in late June with an onus on politicians to introduce new laws.
Pro-life groups said the decision to recommend a change to the Irish Constitution, which will result in the withdrawal of the right to life of the unborn child, marks a moment in history for Ireland. Up to now Ireland has been a country that has recognised the humanity of the unborn child and has noted that the unborn child has an equal right to life as the pregnant women.
Life Northern Ireland (Life NI) has warned that if the Oireachtas is given the constitutional power to legislate on issues surrounding termination, Ireland can no longer stand over its focus of care for both the unborn child and women. The group also raised fears that Ireland will not be able to guard against a culture of termination if its people allow the recommendations of the Assembly to become a reality.
“It was evident from the proceedings on both Saturday and Sunday, which could be viewed via the live-stream of the Citizen’s Assembly website, that there was confusion as to the outcomes of the process,” Marion Woods, of Life NI told The Universe.
“We have numerous concerns around the process but in particular around the wording of the revised Ballot 4B which looked at the recommendations to the Oireachtas by the Citizen’s Assembly for circumstances when abortion could be permissible. For Life NI this is completely unacceptable. We defend the intrinsic value of all from the point of fetilisation and continue to advocate for the right to life of all unborn children”, she added.
Picture: Pro Life protestors on O’Connell Street, Dublin. (Niall Carson/PA).