Legislate for X Now – Please engage in the NWCI’s online campaign

Legislate for X Now


Thank you to our members and friends who have participated in our online campaign to push for legislation for the X case.


To date, over 67,000 emails have been sent to TDs from 16,000 people since we launched the online action at the beginning of November.


The response has been phenomenal, mainly due to the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar in a Galway hospital.


The Expert Group on Abortion report is due to be discussed at Cabinet next week.


We urge you now to take the following 5 steps to drive this campaign forward ;


1.     Log onto http://www.nwci.ie/takeaction/ and make contact with your local TDs. Let them know that you support the immediate introduction of legislation to give effect to the X case, so that a tragic case like Savita Halappanavar will never happen again.   It takes less than five minutes and it will be of critical importance in the run up to the debate on the Expert Group recommendations


2.     Talk to your friends and family and ask them to become involved in our online campaign


3. If you have time to ring or visit your TD that would be even more effective in terms of making known your support for legislative action.


4. Forward this email on to at least 10 people you know and encourage them to take action.


5. Post our action page up on Facebook and Twitter and participate in any public marches being organised around the country.



The next week is of critical importance in sending your TDs a clear and unambiguous message that the time for action is now – Legislate for X.


Please find below a short note on why legislation as opposed to statutory regulation is needed, to support you in your communications with your TDs.


Thank you very much for your support of this campaign and if you need any support or advice in relation to this please do not hesitate to contact me or my colleague Lisa Deegan.


Kind regards





Jacqueline Healy

Women’s Health and Human Rights Worker

National Women’s Council of Ireland

4th Floor, 2-3 Parnell Square East

Dublin 1

Tel: +353 1 8787248

Fax: +353 1 8787301

Web: www.nwci.ie





Why Legislation is Needed for the X case


Legislation as opposed to statutory regulation is needed to give effect to the X case. The repeal of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act which makes abortion a criminal offence is the bare minimum legal reform that is needed, in order to remove the constant and imminent threat of prosecution that hangs over the heads of doctors.  A doctor caught performing or assisting an abortion in Ireland can lose his or her medical licence and faces severe criminal penalties. As do women who seek an abortion. The repeal of the 1861 Act will require primary legislation.


Professor Gerry Whyte from Trinity College Dublin expressed the view this week that an amendment would also be required to section 7 of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 (Number 25 of 2007) in order to ensure that the Medical Council has the necessary functions and powers to issue binding guidelines to doctors.  This amendment will also require primary legislation.


Legislation is what was recommended by our Supreme court in the X case in 1992 and what was strongly suggested by the European Court of Human Rights in the A, B and C cases in order to give the necessary legal clarity to doctors in cases where the real and substantial risk to the life of the mother must be established. The Masters of all the national maternity hospitals have come out publicly and said that legislation is needed to provide sufficient legal clarity to ensure safe and effective care for patients.

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