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19 / 02 / 2011 - Group campaigns for anti-abortion pledge
FORMER INDEPENDENT MEPs Dana Rosemary Scallon and Kathy Sinnott and an alliance of 30 community groups have called on party leaders and candidates to give an election pledge not to legislate for abortion in the wake of the recent judgment of the European Court of Human Rights.
The alliance, Ireland United for Life, said the “constitutional right of the Irish people to decide on Ireland’s unique pro-life status must not be usurped by the opinion of unelected judges from the European Court of Human Rights”.
Ms Scallon told a press conference in Dublin that Ireland United for Life was set up because of a “distinct lack of open discussion, truthfulness on the intention of the parties, with the exception of the Labour Party, who did state they would legislate”.
The alliance is calling for the electorate to vote for anti-abortion candidates. Ms Scallon said some 70 per cent of the voting public opposed abortion, and “that would correlate to 1.2 million voters. That’s over a million people who will go to vote.”
Niamh Uí Bhriain, Life Institute director, said while a number of factors had contributed to Labour’s slump in the polls, she believed the party’s stance on the European Court judgment was partially responsible. Labour constitutional affairs spokesman Brendan Howlin said Labour’s stance “has not altered since the X case judgment. The decision of the Irish Supreme Court, defining the Constitution, is the constitutional position in Ireland.”
Ms Uí Bhriain said it was worrying that Fine Gael was using “phrases like ‘lawful abortion’ and saying they were going to have to consider the European Court of Human Rights ruling. They seem to be confusing legitimate medical treatment with the direct killing of the unborn child.” She called on Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny to “man up” and “seize the opportunity to protect unborn children”.
Ms Sinnott described Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour as “no longer Irish political parties, just branches of European political parties”, and said: “the agendas they are putting forward really have nothing to do with our good. It’s all about Europe.”
Íde Nic Mhathúna of Youth Defence criticised Labour’s response to the judgment and said Fine Gael’s position, to have an all-party committee on the issue, was “not much better, because what they are suggesting is really another quango to decide for the people on an issue which is so fundamental and so hugely important to the people of Ireland”.
Bernie Smith, director of Precious Life Belfast, said in 2008 the four main parties in the North united against any abortion legislation “that would be forced on Northern Ireland from Westminster. And to use that example there’s no reason that the politicians cannot follow in the footsteps of the four main parties in the North of Ireland.”
Source: MARIE O'HALLORAN - Irish Times