Saturday 23 June 2018

No campaigners ‘disingenuous’ in run-up to abortion referendum

Ireland will go to the polls on Friday.

Health Minister Simon Harris speaks to the media at the Together for Yes billboard launch in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)
Health Minister Simon Harris speaks to the media at the Together for Yes billboard launch in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

By Michelle Devane, Press Association

Ireland’s Health Minister has accused No campaigners of being disingenuous in the final hours before the abortion referendum.

Simon Harris said that they had failed to offer any alternatives to the Government’s proposals that could help women experiencing crisis pregnancies.

Irish people are preparing to cast their ballots on Friday on whether they want to remove the Eighth Amendment of the country’s constitution, which recognises the equal right to life of the unborn and the woman, and replace it with wording to allow parliament to legislate for abortion.

“If we want to deal with this issue in a compassionate way, people need to vote Yes on Friday,” Mr Harris said.

“If we vote Yes on Friday we’ll wake up to a country on Saturday that is the same country with the same decent people, but just with laws that can be more caring and more compassionate.”

Mr Harris said: “I don’t want to say that if a woman finds herself in crisis pregnancy that her first conversation should be with her airline rather than her doctor.

“These are realities today and if there’s a No vote we cannot deal with those realities.”

The Republic’s Health Minister said if the Eighth Amendment is repealed then the Government could get on with the job of putting in place “sensible laws” with safeguards that would enable them to support women in crisis pregnancy.

Mr Harris said he was confident that the legislation would be passed in parliament should people vote Yes on Friday.

He added: “It’s disingenuous in the final hours of this campaign for people to even suggest that there are alternatives without showing us what they are.

“I don’t think the Irish people will be fooled by this.”

Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section