2,159 women have been forced to travel to access abortion services since the government was elected

Precedent set for government parties to hold different positions – in 1983 to introduce 8th Amendment – Labour Tanaiste voted against Fine Gael Taoiseach

repeal-8Campaigners from AAA-PBP, the Abortion Rights Campaign, National Women’s Council,  Coalition to Repeal the 8th, USI, People Before Profit-Pro Choice, ROSA, USI and Doctors for Choice gathered at the Dail today in support of the AAA-PBP Repeal Bill which is due to be debated tomorrow.

The campaigners highlighted that since the government came to power 2,159 have been forced to travel abroad to access abortion services or have ordered abortion pills online. This is based on 9.45 women per day travelling to the UK, 0.032 women a day in Dutch clinics, and 3 women a day using abortion pills.

They called on the Independent Alliance not to allow Fine Gael to block a vote on the AAA-PBP Bill through the use of a technical counter motion.

Ruth Coppinger TD said “In light of Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran’s interview on Sean O’Rourke this morning, it seems as if Fine Gael is still trying to put pressure on the Independent Alliance to vote against the AAA-PBP Bill.

“They should maintain their principles and vote for it like they did 18 months ago. There is precedence for two parties in government to hold different positions on issues. In fact, 33 years ago when the 8th Amendment was introduced to the Dail by a Fine Gael/Labour government, the Labour Party had a free vote on it. This saw the Labour Tanaiste vote against the Fine Gael Taoiseach.

“Neither should they let Simon Harris implement his plan to block the AAA-PBP motion using a technical motion on standing orders.

 “Under Standing Order 148 the government can try to delay the Bill from proceeding through the Dail, or under subsection 2, before the Bill goes to a vote they can say that they’re not accepting it for a variety of reasons such as the existence of the Citizen’s Assembly, and refuse to vote on it. Women have waited 33 years already, they shouldn’t be forced to wait any longer.”

Brid Smith said: “Over 2000 women have been forced abroad or had to access abortion pills since this Government came into office. The Citizens’ Assembly will just mean more delays and more suffering for woman.

“This bill is a chance to right the wrongs that woman have suffered since the amendment was introduced in the 80s. It’s a chance to draw a line under the Ireland that forced woman abroad, that saw woman die and that refused to grant them bodily autonomy.

“Every opinion poll shows a majority in favour of repealing the 8th amendment. We can win a referendum.

“A new generation of woman have made it clear they will not accept the status quo. Ireland needs to change with them.”