A Labour Party politician, Ciara Conway, has called it “barbaric” that women have to travel to Great Britain to have abortions. She blamed successive Governments that had “no appetite” to face up to the Supreme Court ruling made 20 years ago.
Conway said she would prefer if the Labour Party had legislated for the “X Case”, in accordance to their pre-election promise, instead of setting up a review group.
The “X Case” became infamous internationally. A suicidal 14-year-old girl was raped and became pregnant. She was prevented, by the High Court, from leaving Ireland to have an abortion.
The Supreme Court overturned that ruling which meant abortions in limited circumstances were also but it was not legislated for. In 2010 the European Court of Human Rights called for Ireland to clarify in what cases abortion in Ireland is allowed.
Conway told the Irish Examiner “My own personal preference would have been that we would have legislated for it. But that’s not the case so I am prepared to wait and to see what way the review group will report back.”
She said she plans to wait for the group’s findings to be released instead of voting for a the opposition motion due in Parliament next week.
The Labour Party politician believes legislation in Irish Parliament, rather than a referendum.
“The reality is that thousands of women every year have abortions and they have them in the UK. And they have them on their own, without support with very little follow up," she said.
Conway and Anne Ferris, also a Labour Party politician, are the only Government members who have joined a campaign group called Action on X Alliance. The group is made up of academics, NGOs and oppositions TDs.
She said “It’s very difficult as a professional to know how to advise or how to give information, it’s unclear for people.”
Conway spoke of the “fear and worry” women go though. She said “I was 20 when I got pregnant. I was in my final year in college. Everybody has this feeling of ‘oh my god how am I going to tell my parents’ and it’s a huge anxiety," she said.
"I chose to have my daughter and I’m very happy and delighted with my decision. But not all women or girls could do that. I think we should be allowed to have that choice. In terms of being a human being, I think it’s just barbaric to think that we would send people over the water.
"It’s an Irish solution to an Irish problem."