LIFE NI: Outcome of the Citizen’s Assembly in Ireland

LIFE Northern Ireland (“LIFE NI”) is gravely concerned and alarmed at the outcome
of the final meeting of the Citizen’s Assembly in the Republic of Ireland.
The decision to recommend a change to the Irish Constitution which will result in the
withdrawal of the right to life of the unborn child marks a moment in history for
Ireland. Up to now Ireland has been a country which has recognized the humanity of
the unborn child and has noted that the unborn child has an equal right to life as the
pregnant women. If the Oireachtas is given the constitutional power to legislate on
issues surrounding termination Ireland can no longer stand over its excellent focus
of care for both the unborn child and women. Indeed at this point we fear that Ireland
will not be able to guard against a culture of termination if its people allow the
recommendations of the Assembly to become a reality.

Spokesperson for LIFE NI, Marion Woods, said, “It was evident from the
proceedings on both Saturday and Sunday, which could be viewed via the livestream
of the Citizen’s Assembly website, that there was confusion as to the
outcomes of the process. We have numerous concerns around the process but in
particular around the wording of the revised Ballot 4B which looked at the
recommendations to the Oireachtas by the Citizen’s Assembly for circumstances
when abortion could be permissible. For LIFE NI this is completely unacceptable.
We defend the intrinsic value of all from the point of fetilisation and continue to
advocate for the right to life of all unborn children”, she continued.

“Of great concern was the guidance by a member of the Expert Advisory Panel” to
the Citizen’s Assembly that in the case of point 10 of the revised Ballot 4 (which
states that an abortion would be permissible if the unborn child had a foetal
abnormality likely to result in death before or shortly after birth) the conditions being
referred to were Trisomy 13 (Patau’s Syndrome), Trisomy 18 (Edward’s Syndrome)
and Anencephaly. LIFE NI would remind people that these conditions do not always
result in a child’s death as evidenced by Kathleen Rose Harkin who is now 10 years
old and lives with Trisomy 13. We are very concerned at the eugenic nature of any
reform to abortion legislation”, Marion said.

LIFE NI believes that all unborn children have the right to life and that women and
families in crisis pregnancies should be supported and services of practical help,
counselling and support should be widely available. LIFE NI appeals to the people of
Ireland to continue to engage in conversation with their local politicians, to ensure
that the humanity of the unborn child is defended and to vote against any change to
the Irish Constitution in any future referendum. Let this not be the end result for
Ireland’s women and unborn children.

Marion Woods
LIFE NI Public Policy Spokesperson

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