Oireachtas Health Committee should convene hearings on fatal foetal abnormalities

Labour Women
07 July 2016

Oireachtas health committee should convene hearings on fatal foetal abnormalities

Labour Women, Labour Equality and Labour Youth are calling on the government to convene hearings of the Oireachtas health committee on the issue of fatal foetal abnormalities.

Commenting Labour Women chair Sinead Ahern said ‘The Labour Party position on this issue is clear, last year Labour Women published a policy document, unanimously endorsed by Labour Party members at our national conference, calling for the repeal of the 8th amendment.

“While we accept that there are differences in legal opinion as to whether effective legislation to allow families affected by fatal foetal abnormalities is possible in the context of the 8th amendment this is not sufficient reason for members of Dáil Éireann to simply vote against this bill and hide from the debate by setting up a citizens’ assembly.

“The health committee hearings on the protection of life during pregnancy bill were productive and allowed legislators access to world class expertise in this area and we believe similar hearings on this issue would be a useful step forward”.

Further commenting Labour Youth Chair Grace Williams said: “As Irish women continue to travel abroad every day to access abortion our government can no longer hide from this issue or kick it to touch.

“Even if this legislation were passed, Irish women will continue to travel to access abortion services or risk criminal sanctions and end their pregnancies illegally in Ireland.

“Doctors will continue to have the impossible task of distinguishing between a severe threat to a woman’s health and a threat to her life.  We believe it is time for the Irish people to have an opportunity to vote to repeal the 8th amendment and end this cruelty and hypocrisy’.

Labour Equality chair Eoin Barry said: “Following the Brexit vote it is now unclear whether further barriers will be placed in front of parents who choose to travel for a termination following a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality.

“We have a duty to show compassion for these families and allow them to be cared for at home.”

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