Independents 4 Change TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly
Further to Health Minister Simon Harris’ claim that a bill proposed by Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace – which would allow for abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and is identical to a bill previously proposed by TD Clare Daly – is unconstitutional…
For years, we have heard a litany of Government ministers and TDs offer sympathy to the couples involved, wring their hands, and agree that “something” must be done. But they have done nothing. Doing nothing is simply not an option anymore.
Roughly two diagnoses of fatal foetal abnormality are made in Holles Street alone each week. The Liverpool Women’s Hospital sees between two and four Irish women every week, with a five-week waiting list. Each week’s delay is subjecting more and more people to cruel and inhumane treatment.
When the bill was moved last year, the Government relied on the advice of the Attorney General, which suggested that it was unconstitutional as a result of the Eighth Amendment. They are again seeking her opinion this time round.
I want to see that opinion published. It cannot be used as a fig leaf to cover the inaction of politicians.
The truth is that all it is is an opinion. Actual unconstitutionality can only be determined by the courts. So why not allow the bill to pass, get the President under Article 26 to refer it to the Supreme Court?
The Constitution allows 60 days to have the matter determined. If they agree it is compatible with the Constitution, then we can — at least in these circumstances — end the inhumane treatment of Irish women.
If they find it is not constitutional, then we will only be in the situation that we are in now.
Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace writing in today’s Irish Examiner.
Previously: What’s Your Advice?