Thursday 17 January 2019

Arc welcomes repeal proposal

Sligo abortion rights campaign willing to support repeal plan

Sorcha Crowley

Sligo Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) has welcomed the Government's "repeal and enact " proposal announced by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last week.

Spokesperson and elected convener Lorri Kelly told The Sligo Champion that the Taoiseach's statement and Government's position to support a referendum to repeal and replace was "welcomed news."

"Sligo ARC has been on the ground since 2015 at a grassroots level, our members are ordinary women and men who have tirelessly campaigned to Repeal the 8th amendment," she said.

"The Taoiseach's statement and government's position reflects a mature approach to this issue which has been the source of human rights abuse for women and girls over the last thirty years.

" It's great to hear our Taoiseach using language like "trust women" which affirms what we believe, which is women know best about their own healthcare.

" It's a private and personal decision and we support people to make their own choice about what is right for them at that particular time in their lives. The 8th amendment has no place in our constitution, the people must be allowed their civic rights to express their wishes for or against," she added.

The Cabinet this week formally instructed to allow Minister for Health Simon Harris to draft a referendum Bill to pave the way for a public vote in May or June. Ministers agreed as well to establish a referendum commission.

Minister Harris will now draft legislation in line with the recommendations of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

This bill will give a clear wording of the question to be put to the people. The aim is to have the bill passed through the Dáil and the Seanad by the end of March.

"While ARC has always campaigned for repeal simpliciter as advised by the Joint Oireachtas Committee, it appears that the enabling provision proposed by the Government will remove the constitutional barrier to abortion care and allow for more progressive and compassionate healthcare to be provided for all those who can get pregnant," said Lorri.

"We would still prefer if abortion care was not singled out in our Constitution, but we are willing to support this provision, if worded properly, and heed the legal advice given by the Attorney General," she said, adding that "accessible and compassionate abortion care must be a guaranteed outcome of the referendum passing - that is non-negotiable."

"We are looking forward to an energetic, compassionate, and respectful referendum campaign. We are repealing the 8th Amendment because we want an Ireland where everyone has access to compassionate, timely, and local healthcare.

"Anyone can join the campaign in Sligo as a volunteer -see our social media pages or email us at Pro Choice is the middle ground," she said.

Sligo Champion