Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Portugal: Legal Abortion to Be Put to the Voters

The Portuguese Parliament has agreed to a national referendum, probably in January, on legalising abortion. If apporved, abortion would be legal to the 10th week of pregnancy. Portugal has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, with the procedure allowed only in the case of rape, fetal malformation or if a woman's health is at risk.

In Europe, only Poland and Ireland have similarly restrictive rules; Malta forbids abortion altogether.

Beginning of a New Inquisiition in Nicaragua

As part of the presidential electoral campaign, the Frente Sandinista under the leadership of ex-revolutionary Daniel Ortega and his Somocist vice-presidential candidate along with other right wing parties (PLC,ALN) have formed an alliance with the Vatican and its catholic heirarchy and some evangelical churches and rushed through a law on Thursday October 2006 to outlaw any form of abortion.

This violates established legal process and the legal process and the secular constitution of the republic as well as basic human rights. It will roll back rigths established in a law allowing for therapeutic abortion that has existed since 1891.

The only party openly in favour of guaranteeing women's rights and the therapeutic abortion law was the MRS (Movement for Sandinista Renewal) which has signed an alliance with the Autonomous Womens Movement.

The exisiting law restricted the right to an abortion only to pregnant women whose lives were in danger. The new law means a death sentence for poor women with pregnancies that threaten their lives and torture for raped women, or any woman who can't or does n't want to go ahead with a pregnancy that endangers her health or because of major problems with the fetus.

Friday, October 27, 2006

39th Anniversary of the British 1967 Abortion Legislation Today

Today marks the 39th anniversary of abortion becoming legal in Britain. For Irish women, this has meant an Irish Journey by boat or plane to Britain to access abortion. Nowadays, the journey includes Belgium and the Netherlands.

The fact that Britain has offered this escape route for so many Irish women has ensured that Irish politicians of each succeeding generation have vacillated on the issue of abortion in Ireland. Shamefully so.

Abortion- The Facts
-The 1967 Abortion Act made abortion legal in the UK up to 28 weeks gestation. In 1990, the law was amended: abortion is now legal only up to 24 weeks except in cases where it's necessary to save the life of the woman, there's evidence of extreme foetal abnormality or there is grave risk of physical or mental injury to the woman.
-Abortions after 24 weeks are extremely rare, accounting for 0.1% of all abortions (fewer than 200 a year).
-The act does not extend to Northern Ireland. Abortion is only legal there if the life or the mental or physical health of the woman is at 'serious risk'. There are no clear guidelines, however, and provision depends on the moral outlook of individual doctors. In 2004/05, 64 women had an abortion in Northern Ireland according to the Family Planning Association. In 2005, 1,164 women from Northern Ireland travelled to England for an abortion. Women travelling from Northern Ireland cannot have them on the NHS.
-According to the Department of Health, the total number of abortions in England and Wales last year was 186,400 (compared with 185,700 in 2004- a rise of 0.4%).
-The abortion rate was highest, at 32 per 1000, for women in the 20-24 age group.
-The rate for under-16s was just 3.7 per 1000 women and the under-18 rate 17.8 per 1000 women, both the same as in 2004.
-89% of abortions were carried out when the foetus was less than 13 weeks old; 67% at under 10 weeks.
-1,900 abortions (1%) were classified as being carried out because of a risk that the child would be born with disabilities.
-According to pro-choice campaign groups, 1.6% of abortions fit the classification 'late-term', being performed at 20 weeks or more.
-Scotland keeps its own statistics and in 2005 there were 12,603 abortions performed, compared to 12,461 in 2004.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


The publication of the Irish Study of Sexual Health and Relationships on October 16th has confirmed a pro-choice trend that has been happening over the last decade.

The study has found that over 60% of people believe abortion is acceptable in certain circumstances. The study involved 7,441 adults aged between 18 and 64, found attitudes to abortion had undergone an immense change since the early 1980s.

The proportion of people stating that abortion is always wrong or never justified fell from between 70% and 90% in 1981 to between 30% and 50% in 2005.

The Minister for Health, Mary Harney said at the launch of the study 'I accept that some people support abortion in particular circumstances- when someone is raped, or is a victim of incest for example'.

According to the World Health Organisation 2005, the grounds on which abortion is permitted in member states is as follows:

On request 69%
For economic and social reasons 79%
Fetal impairment 88%
Rape and Incest 87%
To preserve mental health 90%
To save a woman's life 96%

In Ireland, we are the pro-choice majority, perhaps it's time to TRUST WOMEN to make their own decisions on abortion.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


We're over a week since the first Irish survey on sexual behaviour was released by the Department of Health and the Crisis Pregnancy Agency. Much Media comment has ensued, particularly given the finding that over 60% of respondents support abortion in some circumstances.
We shall return to this finding and list some recent opinion polls on the issue.
Meanwhile, our website www.safeandlegalinireland.ie is now live.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


It's time to start organising for the legalisation of abortion in Ireland. There is no doubt that there is now a pro-choice majority in Ireland. The Safe and Legal (in Ireland) website will go online on October 24th 2006. You can join our MAKE IT SAFE MAKE IT LEGAL enewsletter on the website located at www.safeandlegalinireland.ie

You can also of course send us a donation by paypal on the website.

We'll keep you posted as we seek to harness technology for our pro-choice cause. Exciting is'nt it? JOIN US!