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Repeal the 8th Amendment – Adams

9 March, 2018 - by Gerry Adams


Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams, speaking in the Dáil on Friday in the debate on the Referendum Bill, which will provide for a referendum at the end of May, pointed out, that in his own constituency of Louth and East Meath, 83 women travelled to Britain for an abortion in 2016. This suggests that in the last 40 years at least 3300 women travelled for abortions during that time from Louth.

Teachta Adams said:

“Ní bheidh aon saoirse anno gan saoirse na mban. So, it’s time to trust women on this issue and the decision about their health must be theirs and their doctors, and it’s time to trust ourselves.

“The referendum to repeal the 8th amendment is fundamentally about trust.

“First and foremost, it is about the willingness of our society to trust women to make health decisions for themselves.

“It is also about trusting our medical professionals faced with difficult situations and decisions.

“And it’s about trusting the electorate to come to a decision that removes from the constitution an amendment which should never have been placed there in the first instance.

“The issue of women’s health should never be a matter for a constitution.

“It should be legislated for in the normal way through the Oireachtas.

“I want to welcome the publication today of the government’s Policy Paper.

“Sinn Féin will study it closely.

“I want to commend the government on the proposed wording for the referendum.

“It places responsibility for legislating and providing for women’s health where it belongs – with the Oireachtas and the government.

“The 8th amendment prohibits access to basic medical treatment that should be available to women in any developed society.

“It is unjust and we as legislators have a responsibility to end that injustice.

“The business of the State should be to ensure women have access to proper health care services if they need them and if they choose to avail of them.

“The State has a responsibility to support women. 

“None of us should try to fool ourselves.

“Abortion is a reality in this state.

“Every day here and in neighbouring states Irish women are having abortions.

“Ten will leave today and every day for that reason.

“In my own constituency of Louth and East Meath the official figures tell us that at least 83 women travelled to Britain for an abortion in 2016.

“In this city of Dublin 1,175 women travelled that year, and across this state at least 3,265 women travelled to Britain for an abortion in 2016.

“It is estimated that in the last forty years at least one hundred and seventy thousand Irish women travelled to other states for abortions.

“That means as many as 3300 women travelled for abortions during that time from Louth.

“Thousands more are now using abortion pills that can be accessed over the internet.

“They do so without medical supervision.

“The Minister for Health speaking in the Dáil in January revealed a 62% increase in the number of women from this state contacting one online provider over a five-year period.

“The number seeking pills increased from 548 women in 2010 to 1,438 in 2015.

“So do we want this to continue or do we want a mature society, tolerant and compassionate, open and inclusive and based on equality?

“Or are the attitudes from the time of the industrial schools, the Magdalene laundries, and the Mother and Baby Homes, are those attitudes to prevail when women were treated as chattels, with no rights or protections.

“If we vote no we will be dismissing and condemning women. 

“The victims of rape, of incest, women with fatal foetal abnormalities are not anonymous people.

“They are not statistics.

“These are our family members, our friends and neighbours, our workmates. They need to be treated with love and compassion.

“Winning this referendum will take hard work and leadership.

“I would also appeal for a reasoned, respectful, and sympathetic debate.

“We must not – we cannot let women down again.

“The Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonald speaking on this issue in January described the eighth amendment as a ‘constitutional coup and the reactionary codification of the suppression of women’.

“She is right. That suppression has to end.

“Ní h-aon áit í cúis sláinte na mban sa Bhunreacht.

“Is ceist príobháidreacht atá ann idir bean agus a ndochtúir.

“Is é ar bhfreagarthacht, ar ndualgas feachtas athchomhairce an ochtú a leasú agus mar reachtóirí reachtaíocht a chruthú má tá cathróirí in aghaigh an t-Acht a leasú.   

“It’s time for women to make their own decisions and for us to support them to do this.

“Bí fioir cinnte faoi seo.

“Ní bheidh aon saoirse ann gan saoirse na mban.

“So it’s time to trust women on this issue and the decision about their health must be theirs and their doctors, and it’s time to trust ourselves.” 

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