by Maria Vitale Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
January 6, 2006
Dublin, Ireland (LifeNews.com) — Debate over Ireland’s abortion laws is escalating, after revelations that the Irish government paid for a teenager to travel to Britain for an abortion in 2005.
Ireland’s Health Service Executive has confirmed the report, but refuses to discuss details of the incident to protect the anonymity of the girl. It is unclear why the government sanctioned the abortion.
The abortion issue took center stage in Ireland in 1992 when a 14-year-old rape victim was initially prevented by the High Court from going to Britain for an abortion.
The Irish Supreme Court later issued a decision stating that a pregnant woman had a right to an abortion if there was a substantive risk to her life, including the risk of suicide. In a referendum, the government tried to have the threat of suicide eliminated as a valid reason for an abortion, but the effort failed.
A recent poll by the Irish Examiner indicated that the majority of voters under age 35 favor legalizing abortion — a marked change from traditional Irish thinking on the subject. However, a September poll showed that 47 percent of Irish citizens would vote against a referendum legalizing abortion while only 36 percent would vote for it.
Abortion advocates say more than 100,000 women have traveled to Britain for abortions since 1983.
A new pro-abortion group known as BODY is pushing for a national referendum on abortion in Ireland. Meanwhile, the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) wants the removal of an article of the Irish constitution which equates the life of the unborn child to that of the pregnant woman.
Pro-Life Campaign spokeswoman Audrey Dillon said the IFPA is ignoring the humanity of the unborn child and the damage abortion does to women.
"Every society has to confront the reality of crisis pregnancy. The challenge is to create a more welcoming society for expectant mothers and their unborn children by providing positive alternatives to abortion."