Citizen’s Assembly today discussed legal limitations of Irish abortion


The Citizen's Assembly is in talks today discussing Ireland's stance on abortion. 

Today's meeting is the third of four that will focus on how the 100 randomly selected members should advise government legislators later this year, on the future of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

Today, the members raised the issue that among the randomly selected 300 public submissions (out of the 13,500 received) which are being heard, there is a lot of repetition, particularly regarding people's religious stance in regards to abortion, which is not relevant to their deliberations.

The assembly heard the details of Irish women's abortion choices, with Irish women being more likely to have a surgical abortion in the UK than a medical abortion, according to the Irish Times.

This is because a surgical abortion can be carried out in a day, while a medical abortion, in which the woman takes abortion pills, requires an overnight stay.

According to Dr Patricia Lohr, the director of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which is one of the leading providers of abortions for Irish women, Irish women procure an abortion on average one week later than UK based women, due to the necessity to travel.

Another issue raised at this weekends assembly is the possibility of extending Ireland's abortion laws to accept rape as an acceptable reason to procure an abortion. 

Tom O'Malley, a senior NUIG law lecturer, told the Citizens' Assembly that it would be impractical to have to wait for Gardai to prove that a rape had occurred and secure a conviction to allow for an abortion in the case of rape, as the conviction process can take up to three years, said RTE. 

The assembly also heard that  3,451 women from Ireland travelled for an abortion in 2015, with 135 of these due to a foetal abnormality.