Monday, April 28, 2008

Write your TDs and Senators asking them to support the Council of Europe's Resolution on Safe and Legal Abortion!

A Sample Letter to a TD:

Dáil Éireann
Leinster House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2


Last week, the Council of Europe approved a resolution calling on member states to provide access to safe and legal abortions. The resolution was passed based on a report produced by the Council of Europe's Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men. The report specifically picked out Ireland, along with Andorra, Malta, and Poland, as the only countries in Europe where abortion is not available on request.

As a result of the X Case in 1992, abortion is legally available in Ireland in cases where there is a substantial threat to the life (as opposed to the health) of the mother, though in reality this has neither been legislated for nor tested. In most cases, doctors do not perform abortions in Ireland even in order to save a woman's life, as a result of sexual violence, or in cases of lethal fetal abnormalities, and those women who are able and can afford to are forced to travel abroad. Laws banning abortion are discriminatory because they expose women to increased health risks and undermine women's capacity to make responsible decisions about their lives and their bodies. In the case of Ireland, women who for whatever reason cannot travel abroad to obtain an abortion are forced to have a child they may be ill-equipped to care for. Further, banning access to safe and legal abortion does not prevent it from happening; it only forces it underground, making the decision to obtain an abortion more dangerous and traumatic for women. The Irish Government's continued failure to clarify the X case ruling and legislate for access to safe and legal abortion in Ireland is discriminatory against all women, and particularly disadvantaged women.

The Council of Europe's resolution is in line with international commitments Ireland has already made in relation to the Cairo Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, the Beijing Platform for Action, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), all of which recognize women's rights to bodily integrity and reproductive choice as human rights.

I urge you and your fellow members of the Dáil to follow the recommendation of the Council of Europe and work to repeal the 8th Amendment to the Constitution (Article 40.3.3) banning abortion in Ireland. I also urge you to provide funds and resources for comprehensive sex education for children, reasonably priced contraception, and free and easily accessible crisis pregnancy counselling that includes all of the options.


A List of Cork TDs and Senators:

Cork East (4 seats)
1. Micheal Ahern (FF)
2. Ned O'Keeffe (FF)
3. David Stanton (FG)
4. Sean Sherlock (Lab)

Cork North Central (4 seats)
1. Billy Kelleher (FF)
2. Noel O'Flynn (FF)
3. Bernard Allen (FG)
4. Kathleen Lynch (Lab)

Cork North West(3 seats)
1. Michael Moynihan (FF)
2. Batt O'Keeffe (FF)
3. Michael Creed (FG)

Cork South Central (5 seats)
1. Michael Martin (FF):
2. Michael McGrath (FF)
3. Simon Coveney (FG)
4. Deirdre Clune (FG) :
5. Ciaran Lynch (Lab)

Cork South West (3 seats)
1. Christy O'Sullivan (FF)
2. Jim O'Keeffe (FG)
3. PJ Sheehan (FG)

1. Peter Callanan (FF)
2. Denis O'Donovan (FF)
3. Paul Bradford (FG)
4. Jerry Buttimer, Jnr (FG)
5. Michael McCarthy (Lab)
6. Dan Boyle (Green)