The Abortion Review Ireland
Pro-Lifers Excluded in Review of Abortion Law
The review of the operation of the 2018 abortion law over three years, as explicitly required by Section 7 of the Act, has commenced. The review committee while still waiting for a chairman, will receive three reports, from service users (women seeking an abortion), from service providers, (namely the HSE, doctors and hospitals) and from a public consultation open to all individuals and advocacy groups.
The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, in charge of the review, has made clear that this exercise is not a review of the law itself but of how well the law has operated, and what measures will remove “barriers identified” to improve “ease of access” to abortion services, which means to have still more abortions.
Overall, the high number of abortions in 2019 and 2020, and the very small number of women travelling to the UK shows that the main purpose of the abortion Act has been largely achieved, according to Minister Donnelly.
It is hard to see how pro-life individuals and groups like Family & Life can participate in the review, since the purpose is to render the abortion law more accessible. The terms of the review exclude the pro-life perspective altogether, and no doubt this is the intention of the Minister and his colleagues. He has already met the National Women’s Council of Ireland, an organization well known for being pro-abortion, despite its official name.
It is true that pro-lifers can ask that the conditions allowing an abortion should be strictly interpreted and the numbers of abortions kept to a minimum, even though it is most unlikely that the review committee will entertain such requests. Any requests about the law itself like the three-day waiting period or the 12-week unlimited abortion are outside the terms of the review, and will be placed in the office shredder.
We know what the pro-abortion lobbies will highlight: lack of “ease of access”, uneven geographic availability, too few GPs and maternity units willing to administer the procedure, nasty pro-life protestors, the need for exclusion zones at hospitals, women still travelling to UK for foetal anomaly abortions, and more public campaigns to de-stigmatise abortion. Where is the “rare” of the infamous “safe, legal and rare” slogan of Bill Clinton? The word has no place, now that abortion is “self-empowering” for women and essential for “reproductive autonomy”.