Two Sides Lay Down Markers For Referendum On The 8th

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Dozens of organisations have merged to launch a campaign today to repeal the 8th amendment to the constitution. Doctors For Choice, The National Women’s Council and Rape Crisis Network Ireland are just some of those who’ve joined forces for the ‘Together for Yes’ campaign.

The abortion referendum bill passed all stages in the Dáil last night. Legislation now go to the Seanad, where a debate is scheduled for next week. Other groups involved in the campaign include Women’s Aid, Irish Family Planning Association and the Union of Students in Ireland.

Dr Peter Boylan – former Master of the National Maternity Hospital – was a speaker at today’s event and argued: “It is an Irish problem, and we do need to have our own Irish solution to it.

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“Our women are travelling outside the country – protected by the Constitution – to do something that is a criminal act in this country. We need really to face up to what’s happening.” “[There’s] also the fact that women are accessing pills, and taking them without any medical involvement… [that’s] a cause for concern.”

Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness – former Justice of the Supreme Court – delivered the keynote address at the launch. She observed: “I opposed the amendment in 1983 and I am a determined supporter of the Yes campaign this time round.”

Today’s launch comes after the abortion referendum bill passed all stages in the Dáil last night. The legislation now heads to the Seanad, where a debate is scheduled for next week.

Meanwhile the Medical Alliance for the 8th amendment have launched their campaign for a no vote.

They say they believe the majority of medical practitioners will vote to save the 8th amendment.

The group consists of doctors, nurses, midwives and other health professionals who support retention of the amendment.

Dr Siobhan Crowley said that repealing the 8th would be the wrong decision.

“This is the exact opposite of what we, as healthcare professionals, were trained to do, which is to protect human life, not end it,” she said.

“It concerns us greatly that without any consultation from government, it is assumed that we will fall into line with the proposal and go from being a healing profession to one that facilitates the ending of a child’s life and abortion on demand.