A Bill to introduce a token €1 fine for having, or assisting someone to have, an abortion has been overwhelmingly rejected in the Republic of Ireland.
Abortion is currently punishable under Irish law by up to 14 years in prison. The Private Members’ Bill would have replaced this law, but Irish politicians voted 81 to 26 against it in the Dáil last Thursday.
The Bill, put forward by the People Before Profit party, was the latest in a series of attempts to force the Irish Government to liberalise its abortion laws.
Right to life
The Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution pledges to “defend and vindicate” the equal right to life of the unborn and the mother, “as far as practicable”.
Since being introduced in 1983, the amendment has ensured that pregnant women in Ireland receive necessary medical treatment, while upholding the unborn child’s right to life.
But pro-abortion activists and some sections of the media have called for a referendum in an attempt to repeal the amendment.
Last week, an activist group deliberately flouted the law by handing out abortion pills in universities across the country.
The group Reproductive rights against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity, travelled on an ‘abortion bus’ to hand out abortion pills at University College Dublin and University College Cork among others.
Niamh Uí Bhriain from The Life Institute slammed the group for acting like “drug pushers”.
She said it was “hoping to profit from women’s fear and desperation in order to push their political agenda”.