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Irish FAQ: Politics [4/10]
Section - 9) Can anybody explain the abortion referendum?

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		[Note:  As recommended in the "Welcome to talk.abortion"
		posting, I am referring to the sides as prolife and
		prochoice.  This is not intended in anyway to reflect my
		personal feelings on the use of these terms.]

		Abortion has been illegal in Ireland since at least
		1869.  The 1983 referendum added a clause which
		guarantees the "Right to Life" to the Unborn from the
		moment of conception.  The general consensus among the
		prolife campaigners was that there was now a
		constitutional prohibition on abortion, and abortion
		would never be introduced into Ireland.

		It was then illegal to give out names and addresses of
		abortion clinics in Ireland.  As a result no imported
		magazines or newspapers were allowed to sell issues
		which advertised abortion clinics.

		In 1992, the Attorney General placed an injunction
		against a 14-year-old rape victim (Ms. X) going to
		England to have an abortion. The family of rape victim X
		had approached the police and offered to let the aborted
		foetus be used as evidence against the rapist.  Police
		then approached the Attorney General who went to the
		High Court as allowing X to go abroad would breach the
		"Right to Life" of X's foetus.  The High Court then
		granted the injunction.

		In a state of near national hysteria, the Supreme Court
		overturned the ruling, and declared that under the 1983
		amendment, Ms. X was entitled to have an abortion in
		Ireland as she was threatening to commit suicide.   The
		preliminary verdict was given on Friday, X went to the
		UK that weekend to have an abortion but miscarried
		before the abortion actually took place.  The full
		ruling followed on Tuesday suggesting that X has a right
		to have an abortion in Ireland.

		The government moved fairly quickly, and a second
		referendum was held in November 1992, at the same time
		as a General election.   The referendum posed three
		questions, dealing with the Right to travel, the Right
		to information and the Substantive Issue (are abortions
		ever allowed in Ireland?).  While people voted for the
		right to information and the right to travel, the
		results from the vote on the Substantive issue were less
		conclusive, with both sides claiming victory.  However,
		the government failed to legislate on the basis of the
		ruling in X.

		The government's case was not helped by the Irish Medical
		Council ruling that any doctor who performs an abortion
		should be struck off the register, a decision later
		endorsed by the Irish Medical Organisation. The majority
		of the IMO regard abortion as unnecessary for
		life-saving reasons and doctors can be struck off. The
		Medical Insurance companies (for doctors) believe
		failure to perform abortion in life threatening
		circumstance could result in negligence charges.

		The whole situation is desperately confused and no one
		knows under what circumstances abortion is legal or illegal.
		No government has been eager to introduce laws to regulate
		abortion, despite repeated criticisms of the current
		situation by the judiciary.  Women who want abortions
		usually go to England, often without the knowledge of
		their families.

		[Note: Abortion is technically legal in the North,
		but rarely carried out.]


User Contributions:

Ivan Brookes
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Dec 21, 2011 @ 8:08 am
I'm looking for information regarding navigable waterways for a 44' fly bridge cruiser for corporate entertainment such as the big horse racing events. I've searched the internet and book stores here in Walws without success.

Regards
Ivan Brookes

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Top Document: Irish FAQ: Politics [4/10]
Previous Document: 8) What about D.I.V.O.R.C.E. ?
Next Document: 10) Wasn't homosexuality banned in Ireland?

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