Members of the US Congress have written to Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny demanding that he halt any bid to legalize abortion in Ireland.
The group of 16 Republican and one Democrat congressmen have signed the letter, calling on Kenny to ensure that Ireland remains ‘staunchly pro-life’.
The Irish Examiner reports that the politicians told Kenny they were concerned that an expert group chosen by his Health Minister James Reilly to present a report on abortion included some who are ‘pro-choice’.
The report states that Minister Reilly established the group last January in the wake of a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that Ireland must give legislative effect to the 1992 Supreme Court judgment in the X Case which ruled that a woman was entitled to an abortion if her life was in danger as a result of her pregnancy.
It adds that the expert group is due to present its report shortly when it is expected to recommend either regulation or legislation. Minster Reilly will then bring that recommendation to Cabinet.
In the letter, the American politicians said: “A concern has been expressed to us that the composition of the expert group seems predisposed to issue recommendations that infringe on the right to life, rather than a simple clarification.
“The absence of experts of known pro-life views and the presence of some of known pro-abortion views were especially noted.”
The Irish Examiner reports that one of the signatures on the letter is that of Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado Springs who was forced to apologize last year to President Obama after saying that working with him was like touching a ‘tar baby’.
The letter is also signed by Trent Franks, a Republican Congressman from Arizona, who earlier this year sought to push through legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the District of Columbia.
The letter to Kenny from the 17 Congress members says: “Ireland has been an example to the world in not legislating for abortion.
“It is our hope Ireland remains staunchly pro-life and continues to give this vital example in Europe and throughout the world. We offer our strong support to you in this effort.”
The only Democrat to sign the letter is Dan Lipinski, from Chicago, who co-sponsored a bill to prevent women from obtaining abortions on health insurance unless they had been raped.