Friday the 26th of February the ends of the earth

“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Irish Government accused of using abortion pills issue to win referendum votes

Pro-life campaigners have accused the Government of using the issue of abortion pills to win votes ahead of this week’s referendum on whether to remove the Eighth Amendment, which protects the life of a mother and her unborn baby.

Love Both legal adviser Caroline Simons claimed health minister Simon Harris was “cynically” using the problem to argue for a yes vote on Friday.

Her comments came after Mr Harris said terminations were a reality in Ireland due to the use of abortion pills.

Voters will be asked whether they want to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which gives equal right to life of the mother and the unborn, and replace it with wording to allow parliament to legislate for terminations.

Ms Simons said instead of acting to address the issue, Minister Harris was expressing “a new found concern” about the health risks they posed.

“If the Minister was really concerned about abortion pills and the problem they represent, he would have done something practical about it such as promoting information about the dangers of abortion pills and resourcing the customs authorities to intercept them,” she said.

“The minister must stop cynically using the issue of abortion pills, which are a problem in the UK where abortion is available, to argue for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.”

She added it was “quite clear” that repealing the amendment would not mean the problem of importation and use of abortion pills would suddenly disappear.

More than 3.2 million people are registered to vote in the referendum.

Picture: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris. (Artur Widak/NurPhoto/Sipa USA).