independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Activists demand abortion reform

Dentist Savita Halappanavar died after being refused an abortion at a hospital in Co Galway

Ireland's strict laws on abortion must be urgently revised, pro choice campaigners have said.

They want the Government to pass emergency legislation this week.

The calls for action were made during a rally in Dublin city centre where activists and artists gathered to mark the second anniversary of the landmark C case.

Sinead Kennedy from the Actions for Choice lobby group said: "It is now two years after the European Court of Human Rights ruling on the C case and we are still awaiting a firm commitment by the Government to legislate for the X case."

In 2010 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a woman, Ms C, who was being treated for cancer had her human rights breached because of the State's refusal to allow her an abortion. The X case relates to a teenage rape victim.

Ms Kennedy said: "In a statement published this week the Council of Europe reiterated its concern for women whose life were at risk due to pregnancy and who are still unable to ascertain whether they are legally entitled to a termination in Ireland. This cannot continue. We are calling on the Government to introduce emergency legislation in the Dail this week to give legal affect to the X case judgment."

Pressure has been mounting on the Government to act on the divisive issue of abortion since the death of dentist Savita Halappanavar in October. The 31-year-old died after being refused an abortion at a hospital in Co Galway. Her husband said the couple were told the pregnancy could not be terminated because there was still a foetal heartbeat.

Following the referendum in 1983 an unborn child is an Irish Citizen with full rights.

Campaigners including students from National College of Art and Design performed a collection of special 'C Case' Christmas Carols outside the GPO (General Post Office) to raise awareness about the issue.

Ms C was one of three women who took their case to the European Court of Human Rights. She had been having chemotherapy for a rare form of cancer when she fell pregnant. She was awarded 15,000 euros in damages after the court found that the State had failed to implement existing rights to lawful abortion where a mother's life is at risk, and had violated her rights because she was forced to travel abroad to obtain an abortion.

Press Association

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