More Irish women seeking help for British abortions, says charity
Henry McDonald in Dublin and Ben Quinn
guardian.co.uk, Friday 6 July 2012
The three women campaigning for change – Arlette Lyons, Ruth Bowie and Amanda Mellet – describe being compelled to travel away from their country, family and friends to terminate doomed pregnancies as “bizarre, barbaric and absolutely cruel”.
Bowie, a 34-year-old paediatric nurse living in Dublin, was told at her 12-week scan in 2009 that a large part of her baby’s skull and brain were missing and that it would not survive. “I said [to the consultant] ‘What do we do now?’ And he said you either continue with the pregnancy and the baby might die within the next 28 weeks, or else it will die during labour or else as soon as it’s born.
“So I remember asking if you have any other choices and he said, ‘You can choose not to continue with the pregnancy but in that case you will have to travel to the UK.’ And that is when our world fell apart.”
Under an amendment to the Irish constitution in 1983, even an embryo after conception is officially an Irish citizen.
Niamh Ui Bhriain, a spokeswoman for the Life Institute, one of the most militant of the anti-abortion groups, said they planned to recruit thousands of citizens to lobby Fine Gael members of parliament to stage a backbench rebellion against any government move to liberalise the abortion ban.
“The party promised it would oppose the introduction of abortion in Ireland and we will hold them to that promise. Our volunteers will be used to make phone calls, demonstrate and lobby Fine Gael TDs, whom we believe the majority of oppose abortion,” Ui Bhriain said.