Lawyer groups launch campaigns on both sides of abortion debate

Both sides are highlighting the legal effect of the Eighth Amendment

Lawyer groups launch campaigns on both sides of abortion debate

File photo. Image: RollingNews.ie

Two separate groups from the legal profession are launching campaigns advocating for both sides in the upcoming abortion referendum.

One group, which includes practicing barristers and solicitors along with former Judges, launched a statement in favour of a 'No' vote this afternoon. 

A second will launch its 'Yes' campaign this evening.

Barrister Benedict O Floinn, speaking on behalf of the 'No' group, explained what they are all about this morning:

"We are a group of lawyers who have come together on the basis of a statement," he said.

"And the conclusion that it would be profoundly unjust to repeal the Eighth Amendment and to replace it with the legislation that the Government is proposing."

Injustice

Mr O Floinn said the group is unequivocal in concluding that "the unborn is deserving of rights, that the constitution is the place to safeguard those rights and that the legislation that is being proposed by the Government is a profoundly unjust solution to the situation we are faced with."

"We don't criticise or condemn anybody who either has had their lives marked by abortion or who have a different view to us," he said.

"But we are all united in the very firm conviction that the repeal of the Eight Amendment would be to work a profound injustice."

Maternal healthcare

Separately, another group of lawyers from across the country are due to launch a campaign in favour of a 'Yes' vote this evening.

Lawyers for Yes have noted that it is "not possible to regulate maternal health care" through the Constitution.

In a statement ahead of the launch, the group said the failures of the Eighth Amendment have been highlighted by the "distressing cases which have gone through the courts since 1983."

"We know that around 2,000 women are importing abortion pills every year for which they could face 14 years in prison, if they use those pills," said the group statement.

"No constitutional amendment or criminal sanction will stop women terminating a crisis pregnancy."

It said that the vote on May 25th provides a chance to " ensure that this harmful clause is removed and that women can have access to healthcare in their own country."