Joan Collins and Clare Daly today denounced John Bruton’s cruel argument to exclude the risk of suicide as grounds for abortion.
Joan Collins said:
“John Bruton wants to exclude the X case ruling, based upon Art 40.3.3 of the Constitution which gives equal right to life to a woman and to an undefined ‘unborn’, as the basis for the forthcoming legislation on abortion. The ruling acknowledged that if being pregnant caused such distress to a woman or girl that she seriously considered killing herself, her ‘equal’ right to life took precedence over that of a fertilised egg. It recognised that the risk of suicide due to unwanted pregnancy is a real risk to the life of a woman or girl – and is therefore grounds for abortion. It acknowledged that if the woman dies, the fetus dies too.
The X ruling also recognised that constitutions and laws are reflections of the social ideas of their time. Bruton’s interpretation of 40.3.3, which would deny abortion where there is a risk a woman or girl may kill herself, is not far removed from the attitudes of the past which allowed the church and state to treat women and girls in the way they were treated in the Magdalene laundries.”
Clare Daly said:
“The women in the Magdalen laundries were treated with contempt. This is matched by Bruton’s contempt for the life of a woman or girl to whom he would deny an abortion, even though she might kill herself because of a pregnancy she desperately did not want. John Bruton and the anti-abortion minority are trying to take us back to a time when the mistreatment of women and girls – as in the Magdalene laundries – was OK. They are happy for women to resolve crisis pregnancies elsewhere – overseas, hidden and unacknowledged. For suicidal women who cannot travel – poorer women and girls, those too ill to travel, or migrant women – in Bruton’s opinion the risk to a fertilised egg takes precedence over the risk to their lives.
We need to close the door to these ideas, just as the doors were closed to the Magdalene laundries. There must be legislation based upon the X case, including risk of suicide as grounds for abortion – and it must not be delayed any longer.”