Tuesday 6 December 2016

Emer O'Kelly: We need the courage to make sad choices

Our ham-fisted 
legislation on
 abortion is the result of failure to make
 difficult ethical
 decisions, says 
Emer O'Kelly

Emer O'Kelly

Published 24/08/2014 | 02:30

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said there were no plans for another referendum to bring Ireland into line with our obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said there were no plans for another referendum to bring Ireland into line with our obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Senator Ronan Mullen described our abortion legislation as "mad, bad, and dangerous" when he was interviewed on Tuesday on RTE. And he is absolutely right. Ireland was a dangerous place to have a crisis pregnancy before the passing of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act. We now know what many legal and medical authorities warned us of: the Act may have made it even more dangerous.

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Professor Gavin Barrett of the Sutherland School of Law in UCD is a specialist in European and constitutional law. When some facts emerged a week ago concerning the tragic immigrant and her ghastly story of Irish state brutality, he pointed out that our abortion legislation, in seeking to satisfy both sides of the argument, could not possibly satisfy either position. 
The legislators knew that: and in passing the bill , they ensured that the savage, barbaric story that has filled our news pages and airwaves for the past week, would happen sooner rather than later.

I did not realise then that the legislation was so unbelievably ham-fisted that even a medical agency such as the Irish Family Planning Association, which is prepared to give advice which includes termination information, finds itself effectively unable to provide the assistance which the law claims to provide.

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