Belfast Telegraph

Abortion travel women urge change

Four women who were forced to leave the country to have an abortion during difficult pregnancies have met 25 politicians in Leinster House.

Jenny McDonald, Ruth Bowie, Amanda Mellet and Arlette Lyons shared their stories in a bid to highlight the plight of women who are denied the right to a termination in life-threatening circumstances.

"The reason we have publicly communicated our stories is because we don't want other people to have to encounter the tremendous pain and difficulty that was inflicted on us because of a lack of appropriate services within the Irish state," the women later said in a statement. "Telling our story has not been easy, but we hope that those politicians who listened to us today will now move to take steps to address the treatment deficit within our healthcare system.

"Undoubtedly, in the future, other women will find themselves in the same situation as we did."

Meanwhile, three TDs from the Technical Group have lobbied a Private Member's Bill in the Dail, calling for the Government to legislate on the controversial X Case - a Supreme Court ruling that women should be allowed an abortion in Ireland in the event the mother's life is in danger.

Socialist Party TD Clare Daly, People Before Profit's Joan Collins and Independent TD Mick Wallace will need the support of the majority of the Dail - some 81 votes on top of their own - for the Bill to be passed.

"In the week when Irish women have come forward to speak publicly about how their need to leave Ireland to terminate non-viable pregnancies made a difficult experience worse, tabling this Bill is a first step to creating a legal framework for abortion in Ireland in cases where a woman's life is at risk," said Ms Daly.

The Supreme Court made the X Case ruling 20 years ago, but it was never written into law.

Delegates at the Labour Party national conference last weekend unanimously passed a motion to allow for abortions to be legally carried out in Ireland - on grounds wider than risk to a woman's life or health.

The motion was described as being in accordance with "a truly pro-choice policy".

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