Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cork Women's Right to Choose Group

Based in Cork, the Cork Women's Right To Choose is a single-issue group; a loose alliance of women and men who believe that a woman has the right to control her fertility.

We believe that abortion should be treated as a health issue and not as a criminal law matter.

We campaign for all women in Ireland regardless of income, age or culture to have information on and access to the full range of reproductive choices.

Our Campaign:

➢ Free safe and legal abortion on demand for all women
➢ Free access to accurate information on all crisis pregnancy options
➢ Legislation regulating information provided by crisis pregnancy agencies
➢ Proper sex education
➢ Free access to multiple forms of contraception including Morning After Pill
➢ Increased support for single and low-income parents and working mothers including access to high-quality, affordable childcare


Abortion is illegal in Ireland based on the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act. Since abortion was legalised in the United Kingdom in 1967, large numbers of Irish women have been travelling to the UK to obtain safe and legal abortions. Between January 1980 and December 2006, at least 128,300 women were forced to travel to Britain for abortion services. This is just the tip of the iceberg, as others travelled elsewhere and many more were unable to travel at all due to economic and other constraints. The current cost of an abortion in the UK is £710, meaning that the most vulnerable groups in our society can be denied the right to control their fertility. These figures highlight the clear social need for this generally straight-forward medical procedure, which is already availed by thousands of Irish women each year, to be made freely and equally available in Ireland.

A 1983 amendment to the Irish Constitution gave an embryo or foetus a right to life equal to that of the women in whose body it grew. 25 years and multiple human rights violations later, women still cannot access safe and legal abortions in Ireland, even where women are pregnant as a result of rape or incest; face severe health risks from continuing pregnancy; or find that they are carrying a foetus with severe disabilities. Incredibly, it is denied even to those women in the deeply traumatic position of being told that their baby will be stillborn. Such women must either carry their pregnancy to term in Ireland, knowing their baby has died, or travel to Britain for a termination.

Despite having won the right to travel and the right to information about abortion, women in Ireland are still being denied the respect for their rights, life, culture, health, dignity, autonomy and bodily integrity that is guaranteed under international law. This situation cannot continue.

In 2002, another referendum criminalising abortion was defeated by Irish voters. In 2007, the Irish public was shocked when the HSE refused to allow a 17 year-old girl carrying a non-viable foetus to travel to Britain for an abortion. An ESRI/RCSI poll in 2007 found that 64% of the Irish population believes that abortion is permissable in certain circumstances. Clearly, the Irish people want to see change regarding abortion legislation in Ireland. However, the Irish government has continually refused to address the issue of abortion.

Abortion must be freely available and equally accessible to all women who seek it.

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