Action on X

May
2013
17

Women's Rights

Choice of speakers at Oireachtas Hearings on abortion is biased towards restrictive legislation.

Buttimer must change balance of speakers.

 

Commenting on the speakers chosen to address the Oireachtas Hearings on the forthcoming abortion legislation, Brendan Young said:

The choice of speakers to the Oireachtas Hearings on the forthcoming abortion legislation is heavily biased. Amongst the medical and legal speakers, there are ten who are either anti-abortion advocates or who question the appropriateness of legislating for the X Case. By contrast there are only five who support non-restrictive legislation for the X Case or are pro-choice.

Speakers to these hearings are supposedly invited to comment as ‘experts’ on legislation. How can people who have actively campaigned against legislation, who have questioned the X Case ruling, who have asserted that legislating would be either wrong or unnecessary or who have represented the Catholic Church, Youth Defense of the Prolife Campaign be regarded as reliable commentators on legislation that they oppose in principle? Indeed one of these organized a symposium that claimed there was never a medical justification for abortion to save a woman’s life.

There does not appear to be any speaker with international human rights expertise to assess whether the proposed legislation would comply with the ABC Ruling of the European Court of Human Rights or with the European Convention on Human Rights.

We call on the Chair of the Health and Children Committee, Mr. Gerry Buttimer TD, to change the selection of speakers for the Oireachtas Hearings to ensure balance and to reflect the majority public opinion in Irish society – which supports legislation for the X Case and for the right to abortion where pregnancy threatens the health of a woman or in cases of rape and incest. A vocal minority must not be given precedence over the views of the majority”.