12 Legal Experts: This Will Be Like England (Irish Examiner)

IMPORTANT and powerful letter in the Examiner from top legal experts showing that the goverment's proposal will introduce the British model of abortion to Ireland. Let's Vote No to that.

A chara,

The Supreme Court has clarified in the recent case, M v. Minister for Justice, that the unborn have no constitutional rights apart from the Eighth Amendment.

The British Abortion Act 1967 permits abortion where there is a risk to the physical or mental health of the mother. In 2016, there were 696,271 live births and 190,406 abortions in England and Wales.

Our Government is proposing that abortion should be permitted without restriction for the first 12 weeks of the life of the unborn, and in circumstances of risk to the physical or mental health of the mother, abortion up to where the life of the unborn child is viable outside of the womb i.e. up to approximately the 23rd or 24th week of a pregnancy. Therefore, our Government has proposed an abortion regime for this country that is comparable with that in Britain and more extensive during the first 12 weeks.

If the Eighth Amendment is repealed in circumstances in which the People know what is being proposed by the Government, it will, in effect, be impossible to challenge successfully the constitutionality of this expansive abortion regime and it may prove very difficult to prevent a future Oireachtas from widening the grounds for abortion even beyond the current expansive proposal.

The citing of hard cases is not relevant to the proposal in this upcoming referendum. We are not being asked to vote for abortion in certain limited cases, we are clearly being asked to remove all constitutional rights from unborn humans.

We all value our own life. To set at nought the value given to the lives of any cohort of humans is chilling.

The enormity of the decision we are about to make as a people cannot be overstated.

Is sinne,

Séamas Ó Tuathail C.T.G, AS
Mary Faulkner, Former Dean of the School of Law, King's Inns, Dublin
Elizabeth O'Connell SC
Elizabeth Maguire BL
Emile Daly BL
Tabitha Wood BL
Sheila O'Riordan BL
Úna Ní Chatháin BL
Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh BL
Graham Quinn BL
Roderick Maguire BL
Lorcán E. Price BL