Press release issued on Monday 12th February 2007.
The Safe and Legal (in Ireland) Abortion Rights Campaign has welcomed the result of Sunday's Portuguese referendum on abortion. Of those who voted in the referendum, 59.3 per cent supported making abortion available in a wider range of circumstances. The Portuguese Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, has said that his Socialist government will liberalise the law on abortion as a result of the vote.
The Safe and Legal Campaign has called on the Irish Government to take action on abortion, and as a minimum to legislate for the X case. Ms X was a 14-year-old pregnant rape victim who was suicidal as a result of her pregnancy, and in whose case the Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that abortion would be lawful. The X case allows for abortion on the grounds that a pregnancy poses a real and substantial risk to a woman's life. However, in the absence of any legislation clarifying how doctors may implement the X case, women seeking to have abortions in Ireland currently face criminal conviction and a potential sentence of life imprisonment.
Ivana Bacik, spokesperson for the Safe and Legal (in Ireland) Abortion Rights Campaign, said today:
'The Portuguese result means that Ireland has by far the most restrictive abortion law in Europe. It shows the need for us to have a public debate about the reality of crisis pregnancy in Ireland, and the problems faced by those women who must travel abroad to obtain legal abortion.'
The Safe and Legal (in Ireland) Abortion Rights Campaign believes that abortion should be safely and legally available in Ireland.
Irish Abortion Statistics
At least 123,258 women women travelled from Ireland to the UK for abortions between January 1980 and December 2005.
5,585 women travelled to the UK for abortions in 2005. Women aged between 20-30 years represented the majority of those who travelled to Britain for abortion services in 2004.
These figures undercount the amount of women travelling to the UK for abortions as they only include those who choose to give Irish addresses to clinics at which they obtain abortion services.
For further information:
write to: Safe and Legal (in Ireland) Abortion Rights Campaign,
P.O. Box 10740