Thursday 22 March 2018

It's time to talk abortion again

THE European Court of Human Rights ensured that a familiar shibboleth will feature in next year's elections with yesterday's ruling that the State has violated the rights of a Lithuanian woman by failing to legislate for the existing constitutional right to an abortion when a mother's life is in danger.

The court's decision is a reminder politicians cannot avoid legislation on abortion indefinitely, although they have done a good job of doing just that since the 1980s. Whether we like it or not, the Constitution allows for a termination in the rare case where the mother will otherwise die. After three referendums, it is time for the Dail to introduce a bill that will clarify the law in this exceptional situation. Not to do so would be to ignore the people's wishes.

That the Dail wants to avoid a debate on abortion at almost all costs is no secret. There was private dismay among politicians from all parties in Leinster House yesterday that abortion is once again a topic on many voters' lips.

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