Ireland must stop banishing women, says the National Women’s Council of Ireland
Press Statement: The days of banishing women to seek healthcare must end, according to the National Women’s Council of Ireland. Speaking on the eve of a landmark case before the European Court of Human Rights [Wednesday 9 December 09], the director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, Susan McKay said: “Irish women have always had to flee this country like criminals to terminate pregnancy. The government seems to believe that now that we have won the right to travel to attend to our reproductive health, that this is the end of the matter. We applaud the courage of the three women who have brought these cases, and the Irish Family Planning Association, which is supporting them, has our full backing.”
The Court, sitting in Strasbourg, will hear that the women, known as A, B, and C, were forced to travel to England to access abortions because their circumstances made it impossible for each of them to continue their pregnancy. The applicants’ legal team will argue that this violated their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The NWCI is the umbrella group for women’s groups and organizations in Ireland and campaigns for women’s equality. Delegates at its Annual General Meeting this year unanimously passed a motion from the IFPA (a member of the NWCI) calling for safe and legal abortion in Ireland. “Attitudes to women’s right to reproductive health have dramatically changed in recent years,” said McKay. “A majority of Irish people now recognize that many women face harsh dilemmas in pregnancy, and have a right to choose abortion in certain circumstances. It is time for the government to face up to its responsibilities.” If the challenge brought to the European Court of Human Rights succeeds, the outcome will be binding on the Irish government.