Belfast Telegraph

Huge protest over abortion law move

Thousands of pro-life campaigners took to the streets of Dublin urging the Government to scrap its plans for new abortion laws.

As Taoiseach Enda Kenny dismissed calls by Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin to give TDs a free vote on the legislation, organisers said well over 40,000 people attended the vigil at Merrion Square.

Pro Life Campaign spokesman Caroline Simons said the mass turnout was evidence that the middle ground of Ireland is concerned about the loosening of Ireland's strict abortion regime.

"There are people here who never attended a pro-life event before," Ms Simons said.

"The message is getting through that this legislation is not restrictive or about saving women and children's lives, despite the repeated claims by the Taoiseach and his Government."

She said it is "time for the spin to stop" and claimed that even the medical profession is divided over the legislation.

The Government hopes to implement the new laws by July.

If enacted, the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013 will legalise abortion where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother, including the threat of suicide.

The bill aims to legislate for the X case judgment from Ireland's Supreme Court, which found abortion is legal if there is a real and substantial risk.

The case was taken by a 14-year-old rape victim who became pregnant and was refused permission to travel for an abortion. The loosening of the rules is also intended to meet requirements from a European court decision that found a woman in remission from cancer should not have been forced to travel oversees for a termination.

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