I write to you in relation to the Bill to implement the judgment of the Supreme Court in the X case and the European Court of Human Rights in the case of A, B and C v Ireland.
This government should be proud that after 21 years of prevarication, legislation is being introduced so that a pregnant woman whose life is at risk can exercise her constitutional right in this country. This is the right thing to do.
The government’s expert group on abortion unambiguously stated that a pregnant woman whose life is at risk has a constitutional right to terminate the pregnancy. The legislation must include practical and effective measures and access to appropriate services to save women’s lives, whether the risk arises on grounds of physical or mental health.
I am deeply concerned that, in the rare cases where the risk to life arises because of threat of suicide, the legislation will introduce onerous and unworkable procedures that would act as a barrier to the exercise of the constitutional right.
Such measures would fail to protect and vindicate women’s lives, as the Constitution requires, and would not satisfy Ireland’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.
It is not too late to ensure that the legislation fulfils its purpose and protects maternal life. Please don’t let women down.
Dear Deputy [Labour Party TD],
I am writing to you about the forthcoming legislation to implement the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of A, B and C v Ireland.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) judgment in the A, B and C v Ireland case found that there was an absence of accessible and effective procedures to enable pregnant women to establish whether they have a right to a termination under Irish law and that this represented a violation of her human rights.
As the government’s expert group on abortion has made absolutely clear, pregnant women whose lives are at risk, whether because of physical or mental threat, have a constitutional right to terminate the pregnancy.
The Labour Party has championed the implementation of the judgment since the ruling was given by the European Court in 2010 and has ensured that legislation will now be introduced. It is of great credit to the Labour Party that after 21 years of prevarication this government will take action to give effect to the limited constitutional right to abortion in Ireland.
But the legislation must ensure that a pregnant woman can exercise her constitutional right in cases where the risk to life arises on mental health grounds. Practical and effective measures and accessible services must be put in place. Nothing less will satisfy the requirements of the European Court of Human Rights and of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the X case.
I and others who are concerned about women’s human rights are depending on the Labour Party: please don’t let women down now.